Škoda Auto, more commonly known as Škoda, is a Czech automobile manufacturer founded in 1895 as Laurin & Klement. It is headquartered in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic.The car manufacturer was acquired by Škoda Works in 1925 and later became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group in 2000.Initially, the company was meant to serve the role of the VW Group’s entry brand. Over time, however, the Skoda brand has shifted progressively more upmarket, with most models overlapping with their Volkswagen counterparts on price and features, while eclipsing them on space. Its total global sales reached 1.04 million cars in 2014 and had risen annually by 12.7 percent.HistoryThe Škoda Works were established as an arms manufacturing plant in 1859. Škoda Auto (and its predecessors) is one of the five oldest companies producing cars and has an unbroken history alongside Daimler, Opel, Peugeot and Tatra.Laurin and KlementThe origins of what became Škoda Auto go back to the early 1890s when, like many long-established car manufacturers, a company started manufacturing bicycles. Škoda factories were founded in 1869. In 1894, 26-year-old Václav Klement, who was a bookseller in Mladá Boleslav, Kingdom of Bohemia (today's Czech Republic, then part of Austria-Hungary), was unable to obtain spare parts to repair his German bicycle.