This spring for the seventeenth time in a row, Škoda Auto is the official main sponsor of IIHF World Championships. The official fleet is made up of 45 Škoda vehicles.
The company is maintaining its position as the longest-ever main sponsor of any sports world championship, a fact that indeed earned Škoda Auto a Guinness World Record in 2007.
In 2008 tt was the very first time for the event to take place in the cradle of ice hockey and, quite symbolically, also the first time in the new-age history for Škoda vehicles to be the official vehicle of the event in the Canadian territory. A fleet of 45 official silver vehicles is made up of Roomster Scouts, Octavias and Octavia Combis, including a sports version (RS) for the International Ice Hockey Federation President René Fasel. Furthermore, the championships in Canada 2008 ans Swizz 2009 were the worldwide TV premiere for the latest Škoda Superb. Two vehicles were displayed in each of the arenas in Quebec and Halifax one year ago.
As usual, Škoda Auto is going to act as the official partner of the Czech and Slovak national teams. In addition to that, the Škoda emblem and logo are going to appear on the Russian team's jerseys and helmets. “This is more than symbolic for us,” says Head of Corporate Communications Martin Lauer and explains why: “Russia is one of our most important markets, a country that offers a huge potential for growth, which is why we opened a brand new Škoda assembly plant in Kaluga last year. Moreover, as an ice hockey superpower, Russia have been a tough sporting rival for the Czech Republic for decades.“
The 2008 IIHF World Championships in Canada marked the 100th anniversary of existence for the International Ice Hockey Federation, as well as for the Czech Ice Hockey Association, long-time partners of Škoda Auto. Škoda Auto has been a partner of the IIHF since the world championships in Czechoslovakia in 1992 when its products were the official vehicles of the event for the first time. One year later, the Company became the main partner of the IIHF World Championships. The partnership with the Czech Republic's national team also started in 1992.
In addition Martin Lauer says: “The championships are going to see the world's best teams, and we wish every success to the Škoda brand and products, as well as to ice hockey alone. Our liaison with the world's fastest team sport is positive in terms of brand and product visibility and awareness which, along with a positive image, is the key precondition for good results of the entire Škoda Auto corporation."
The roots of this famous Czech automobile manufacturer lay in the bicycle manufacturing business established by Vaclav Klement and Vaclav Laurin in Mlada Boleslav near Prague. Within four years the company began the manufacture of motorcycles, moving into motor car production with the Voiturette A in 1905. In 1925 Klement and Laurin merged with the Skoda Company, a manufacturer of engines and industrial products, and soon established a reputation for the manufacture of luxury limousines such as the 1929 Skoda 860 and the technologically sophisticated Superb designed in 1934 and in production until 1949. During the Second World War Skoda centred its activities on the production of military transport and, in 1946, was nationalized and given a monopoly on passenger car production including the 1946 Tudor range. In the 1950s and 1960s the company manufactured a number of celebrated models such as the Spartak and the Estelle, followed by a period of difficulty in the face of stiff European competition until the introduction of the Favorit in 1988. With the softening of relations with the West, and the corporate goal of developing new markets, the company became a member of the Volkswagen group (incorporating Audi and SEAT) in 1991. The Felicia was launched in 1994 followed by the Octavia, produced in a new assembly plant in 1996. A new Design Centre was established in Mlada Boleslav in 1999 and the image of Skoda, previously often seen as a manufacturer of cheap, fairly basic models, was altered with the launch of the award-winning Fabia in the UK in 2000. This was followed by the launch of a more luxurious version of the Octavia in 2001 and another new model, the Superb (named after its successful 1930s predecessor), characterized by a spacious interior, comfort, and technological sophistication.