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Škoda Mladá Boleslav is an automobile manufacturer in the Czech Republic, now part of VAG. Established in 1895 as Laurin & Klement, it was merged with Škoda Works in 1925 and was acquired by VAG in 1991.

Škoda's vehicles are not uncommon in the UK. Historically, Škodas had a poor reputation and no fashionable person would be seen in one, let alone own one. Since being purchased by VAG, the design - both style and engineering - has improved greatly and Škoda now use this historical joke as part of their advertising, with the slogan: 'It is a Skoda, honest.'. In a 2003 advertisement on British television, a new employee on the production line is fitting Škoda badges on the car bonnets. When some 'attractive' cars come along he stands back, not fitting the badge, since they are too good to be Škodas. Some British owners of the Škoda Octavia have even gone as far as to fit VW badges to it, to avoid embarrassment. (In fact, the Octavia is engineered by VW, and is mechanically similar to the SEAT Leon and Audi A3.)

2001 Skoda Fabia

Škoda has been successful in rallying.

Škoda Works was the biggest industrial enterprise in Austria-Hungary and then Czechoslovakia and among the biggest in Europe. Founded by Emil Škoda in 1869 in Plzen it soon became the leading arms manufacturer in the country producing heavy guns for navy, mountain guns or mortars as well as locomotives, aircraft, ships, machine tools, steam turbines, power-engineering equipment, etc. Prior to World War II and during the occupation by Nazi Germany Škoda also produced LT-35 and LT-38 tanks, which are better known under their German labels Panzer 35(t) and Panzer 38(t).

Mountain guns produced by Škoda:

The present-day company specializes in heavy machinery (such as nuclear reactors and locomotives).

As an interesting aside, Škoda means "pity" in Czech. And "To je škoda" is a common saying meaning, quite literally, "It's a pity." In this way the automobile of the Czech Republic is representative of the distinctive Czech sense of humor.

See also: List of automobiles

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