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In December 1895, keen cyclists Vaclav Laurin (a mechanic) and Vaclav Klement (a bookseller) started designing and manufacturing bicycles. The first company was called Slavia and Slavia bikes sold well. In 1899, they started making motorbikes changing the name of their company to Laurin & Klement Co.
In the early 1900s, the Laurin & Klement Co could do no wrong and their first car, the Voiturette A, was a huge success, becoming a classic in Czech motoring history. A merger with Pizen Skodovka Co in 1925 created ŠKODA.
When the Berlin Wall was brought down in 1989, in came new market economy conditions. The government of the Czech Republic and the management of ŠKODA began to search for a strong foreign partner in an effort to secure the company's long term international competitiveness.
In December 1990, they decided on Volkswagen and a joint venture began the following year. ŠKODA became the fourth brand in the Volkswagen group, alongside Volkswagen, Audi and Seat. Since then, ŠKODA has gone from strength to strength, manufacturing not only many excellent cars but many happy drivers.
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