The ancestor of today’s Skoda Transportation group was founded as an offshoot of Count Valdštejn-Vartenberk’s foundry and engineering works in 1859 in Plzeň (Pilsen), near Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The company appointed Emil Ritter von Škoda as chief engineer in 1866 and in 1869 he purchased the company’s factory.
From steel the company grew to produce armaments, bikes and eventually cars as well. During the communist era in Czechoslovakia the company was nationalised.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the government began seeking out a foreign partner for Skoda Auto. In 1991 Volkswagen bought 30 percent of Skoda Auto and during the course of the 1990s bought out the rest.
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