Earlier today in Berlin, the Czech automobile company Skoda unveiled its newest SUV, the “Kodiaq,” named for, and pronounced like Kodiak, Alaska, despite a spelling difference. The company, which has made cars for 100 years, named its latest model “Kodiaq” for the same reason other companies name things for our island and bears: to signify the strength and ruggedness the word conjures.
“Here it is: the new Skoda Kodiak. With all the top quality features of a Skoda car, with the elegance and dynamics of the new Skoda design language,” said the MC through one of the English translators. “And, as you saw for yourself, the power of the bear.”
Advertising representatives from Skoda were in Kodiak for a number of days in May to film a short introductory film that played on the name. In it, Kodiak City Mayor Pat Branson oversaw the change, for one day, in the spelling of the city’s name, replacing the last ‘k” with a “q,” just like the car.
The company does not sell the car in America, so they couldn’t bring one to Kodiak Island. But they did bring Kodiak’s mayor to Berlin, and on-stage for the grand revealing.
“Even though it’s with a Q, it’s fearless, it’s strong, like our Kodiak bear. We have over 3,500 of them on our island – the second largest island in the country,” Branson said. “And this car would work well anywhere – especially in Kodiak, where it’s a little remote.”
Skoda Chief Executive Bernhard Maier then presented Mayor Branson with a gift for the community.
“Your city, and especially you, in person, contributed so much, and did with a lot of empathy and passion for this undertaking here. And if I may say, ladies and gentlemen, everything without any fee. And I have not experienced something similar in my entire life,” Maier said. “And therefore we prepared a check, Pat. A check which I know goes directly in the Kodiak fund. We have talked about it, and I know you know just what to do with this.”
With that, Maier presented Branson with an oversized $25,000 check made out to the Kodiak Community Foundation.
As for the design of the Skoda Kodiaq. To one American’s eye it resembles a cross between a Kia and a Range Rover, but here is the interpreter relating the design chief’s description of how the car draws on the country’s past.
“Our designers always include two aspects: modern car design with the classical elements of Skoda, and the traditional design art as it has grown in the Czech Republic over the years, decades and even centuries as there are important elements of Czech cubism and Bohemian crystal glass art with its very precise cuts and surfaces.”
We have pictures of the Skoda Kodiaq and Kodiak Mayor Pat Branson at the new car’s unveiling in Berlin on our web site, KMXT.org.