When travelers arrive at the airport in Prague, it doesn’t take long for them to see which kind of car is the heart and soul of the Czech Republic. Skoda vehicles are on display at the arrival gates, the baggage claim and throughout the entire terminal. They include both the latest models off the production line and classics from years past.
The Czechs and Skoda are deeply linked. On the streets, this close relationship can be observed as well. Skoda has enjoyed a constant 30 percent market share in the region for 80 years, making every third car on the road one of the VW subsidiary’s. That’s something that Volkswagen has never achieved in Germany.
Around 60 kilometers northeast of Prague, the bond is even clearer in the small industrial town of Mlada Boleslav, home to Skoda’s headquarters. The town, with its 40,000 residents, is like a mini Wolfsburg, the home of VW. Mlada Boleslav is similarly dominated by a single large employer, with Skoda determining the cityscape with its large offices and research center. There is a separate Skoda University and a Skoda Vocational School. The lives of almost all of its citizens have something to do directly or indirectly with the automaker.