Skoda is a Czech firm with a strong range of excellent cars such as the Fabia, Octavia, Superb, Rapid and Yeti. It has a rich history spanning over 100 years, but the company started off in 1895 as a bicycle manufacturer called Laurin & Klement, and was bought out in 1924 by an arms firm called Skoda Works.
It survived both world wars and in 1945 split from the other parts of the Skoda Works empire, becoming Skoda Auto. By the 1980s the firm was the butt of many jokes thanks to its out-dated line-up but it started to turn things around in 1997 with the introduction of the first Octavia, that also later came in an estate version.
One major reason for the turnaround was due to the Volkswagen Group taking a 30% stake in the company in 1990 and helping privatise the firm. As the years went by VW bought more equity in Skoda, until finally taking 100% in 2000.
By this point Skoda was seen as the entry level brand into the VAG group, and shared much of its technical expertise along with parts and production knowledge. One end result was the Skoda Citigo, a city car that was also launched by VW as the Up.