Tuesday, 20 June 2017
The brand secured an incredible gold rush of awards in the Driver Power 2017 New Car Survey with the Superb and Yeti proving to be the star performers, taking first and second place in the overall Car of the Year ranking. The duo also took top honours in their respective segment categories, outscoring the competition in the survey's individual vehicle attribute sections. In total, ŠKODA was awarded 10 Gold, Silver and Bronze awards.
Thursday, 8 June 2017
Although a winged arrow has adorned ŠKODA cars for many decades, the earliest-ever logo depicted a bicycle wheel surrounded by linden leaves. Shall we take a walk through the history of the ŠKODA logo?
Slavia bicycles, the initials L&K, laurel leaves, and the winged arrow. These
are the most important milestones in ŠKODA logo history, which extends
back more than 120 years. There is a story behind each trademark and
it relates to major changes which transformed the company. The whole
journey started out in 1895 in response to the disdainful response
to a complaint about a German bicycle.
In 1895, Václav Laurin and Václav Klement joined forces to establish an enterprise which eventually was to become ŠKODA. As true of many other automotive pioneers, it all began with bicycle production. It seems Václav Klement had filed a complaint about
a bicycle of the Germania brand, doing so in the Czech language. The manufacturer
rejected his complaint, stating that it was “not in an understandable language”.
Hence,he and Václav Laurin established their first company and named it Slavia. The firm manufactured and repaired bicycles and motorbikes. The first logo in the story therefore represents a bicycle wheel bedecked with linden leaves, a mythological symbol of the Slavic nations. Later, the logo was augmented to include the names of the founders and the seat of the company: the city of Mladá Boleslav.
1905: Automotive premiere
The adventure in automobiles began at the turn of the 20th century with the Voiturette.
To mark this important transition, the company was rechristened Laurin & Klement.
It received a brand new logo in the Art Nouveau style, which was then very much
in vogue. The logo presents the initials of its proprietors within a laurel wreath. However,
this logo coexisted with another one for almost 25 years. During the first decades of the
automotive epic it was actually common, in addition to the logo as we know it today,
to inscribe the name of the brand, in this case Laurin & Klement, in full on the front
of the vehicle.
1925: The merger
After the Great War, Laurin & Klement diversified their activities considerably to take
in bicycles, motorbikes, cars, lorries, buses, agricultural engines, and even airplane
engines. But in 1924, amid financial problems and after a fire had ravaged the premises,
the brand had to search for a new industrial partner. For its part, ŠKODA Works, then one
of Europe’s largest industrial groups, with activities ranging from armaments to railways
as well as aviation and shipyards, among other things , was just venturing into the
automotive industry and likewise was seeking a partner already established in this
field. A merger was concluded with Laurin & Klement. From that time, the vehicles were
to be sold under the ŠKODA brand, bearing a new logo which combined the identities
of the two partners: the name ŠKODA surrounded by the crown of laurel.
This logo was to be used for 10 years, although traces of another emblem can be found
already from 1923…
1926: The Indian
This year ŠKODA registered a logo you will recognize today: the blue-winged arrow,
293 60 Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic Page 5 of 8
which is a stylized representation of an Indian headdress with feathers and an arrow. Its
origins are extraordinarily mysterious; it is believed that one of the contributing authors
was commercial director of the ŠKODA company in Pilsen. Nevertheless, the most
credible account as to its meaning is that the symbol sought to express progress and
movement into the future. What is certain is that this blue-winged arrow replaced the
“ŠKODA and laurel” on the brand’s vehicles from the mid-1930s. And although this logo
has since evolved, it is still used today on ŠKODA Original replacement parts.
1993: Hello, Volkswagen!
The blue logo was borne by all vehicles through the Soviet era and did not change for
over 60 years. Then in 1991, when the Volkswagen Group took over responsibility for
ŠKODA’s destiny, this occasioned the opportunity for a little rejuvenation. So, in 1993,
the blue gave way to green and the circle was enlarged to allow for the inscription
“ŠKODA AUTO”. This green logo debuted on ŠKODA FELICIA, the first vehicle of the
1999: A rising power
In the embrace of the German giant, ŠKODA experienced spectacular growth. Its vehicles
were increasingly “designed”, the quality was ever higher, and they continued
to be priced more competitively. They enjoyed enormous success. The logo evolved yet
again to distance the brand a little more from its past as “a from the East”. The greenwinged
arrow was retained, but a new meaning was assigned to its colour such that
it took on a sense of eco-friendliness. Meanwhile, the logo’s overall appearance was
enhanced as the circle’s green was replaced with a more elegant black.
2011: Solid reputation well established
Over the course of time, ŠKODA automobiles have established a very solid reputation for
quality, reliability, practicality, and at the same time elegance. Upon entering into the
second decade of the 21st century, it was decided once again to freshen up the logo.
The winged arrow was by that time well enough known that it could evoke the brand all
The name ŠKODA therefore disappeared from the logo. To add refinement and elegance,
the black circle was enclosed within a chrome band. Even though green is still the
“official” colour of ŠKODA, the colour in the end disappeared from those logos affixed
upon vehicles. That version is now completely chrome (circle and winged arrow)
on a black background and expresses the brand’s 2011 values: youth and precision. The
current values –Simplifying, Surprising, Human – have shaped the logo into an even
more contemporary form.
Tuesday, 6 June 2017
In just ten days, high-wheel world champion Josef Zimovčák cycles across the Czech Republic – in aid of children with cancer. What motivates such a man?
Crazy? Probably – but that’s the great thing about this charity adventure. Josef Zimovčák doesn’t seem to care that over 100 years ago,Penny-farthings were replaced by the comfortable bicycles we know today: He will be crossing the entire length of the Czech Republic on his giant high wheeler. In just ten days, he will be pedalling the 1,057 kilometres from east to west. A tour de force – but why?
“We’re doing this for a great cause,” says the 12-times high-wheel world champion and mentor of the ‘Na kole dětem’ (‘Get cycling for kids’) foundation, which ŠKODA also supports. With each pedal stroke during the charity ride, he will be raising funds to enable children with cancer to go on rehabilitation and respite holidays. “Those who are lucky enough to be healthy must do what they can to help people less fortunate in life,” the 59-year-old explains his motivation.
Zimovčák is known for his ambition far beyond the high-wheel scene – he is also a respected professional cyclist. It is little wonder, as no other person has completed as many wild or gruelling tours on the huge two-wheeler: Zimovčák, born in 1958, has ridden several stages of the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and La Vuelta. He has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records riding the farthest on a Penny-farthing in 24 hours (522 kilometres in 1996). And yet: “For me, the greatest success in my life is the ‘Na kole dětem’ project. It has 3 levels: to help children get to know beauties of our country, to do some physical activity and to get involved in sport. I am a visionary; I believe that this concept will spread over the borders of Czech Republic and that the high bike has long future ahead.”
Zimovčák’s 2016 summer highlight was definitely his trip from Bruntál to Klasterec nad Ohri. Because the idea of a charity bike ride was so good, only prominent cyclists (on normal bikes) rode alongside him in the peloton, including three silver ŠKODAs: a challenge for all the riders in the convoy who could not match Zimovčák’s pace. The balance sheet: 40,000 euros were raised at the seventh charity ride of ‘Na kole dětem’. Calculated by taking the circumference of the high-wheel (4.78 meters) over a distance of 1,057 kilometres, that comes out at 18 cents per wheel revolution.
And what do you have to watch out for when mounting a high wheeler for the first time? It’s really quite different to normal cycling! From the very start: while one leg stands on the step attached to the frame, the other leg creates the momentum. Then, it’s a question of getting up to the saddle. The fun begins at the top: “Each pedal stroke drives the front wheel directly. You have to specifically counteract this impact force over the handlebars,” explains Josef Zimovčák. “Otherwise, you fly over the handlebars.” He has experienced this first hand: “I’ve had a broken nose twice, broken my hand six times, broken my jaw, I’ve lost eight teeth, broken my ribs three times and many other injuries that I have long-since forgotten,” says the consultant for life and accident insurance, smiling most with this response.
The 8th annual bicycle tour ‘Na kole dětem’ (‘Get cycling for kids’) starts on May 31st in Ústí nad Labem and finishes on June 10th in Rouchovany. Along its 1,205 kilometres, cyclists will pass through Prague, Mladá Boleslav, Vrchlabí, Česká Třebová, Zlín and Brno, over hills and valleys, along rivers and through forests. Simply put: it will sample all the beauty that is the Czech Republic. A number of stops with entertainment and educational programming are planned along the way, but the main part of the programme takes place behind the handlebars. So get ready to join us in pedalling for a good cause!