Czech firm will open a new Volkswagen Group plant in Eastern Europe to boost supply of in-demand models
Julian Rendell
19 March 2019

Skoda will build a new Volkswagen Group factory to cope with demand for its growing SUV line-up and prepare for expansion into new markets.

The Czech firm recently launched the Kamiq to sit beneath the Karoq and Kodiaq in its SUV range. It sold 150,000 Karoqs in 2018, the first full year the model was on sale, but company boss Bernhard Maier has admitted that figure was limited by a lack of supply.

“We would have been able last year to sell nearly more than 100,000 vehicles more than we did because of a lack of production capacity,” he said.

Skoda sold 1.2 million cars last year and has a goal of increasing that to two million by the middle of the next decade. Maier said the brand was moving “from being a straight volume manufacturer and expanding into a true global player”.

He added: “With our new product line, if we fixed our production capacity, we’d be able to sell more than two million vehicles before the second half of the decade. We could sell more this year if we could build more. The problem is that product demand is bigger than our supply.”

Skoda was short of body building and final assembly capacity at its two main plants in the Czech Republic, Mladá Boleslav and Kvasiny, where it assembles around 800,000 units a year. A third plant in neighbouring Slovakia makes the Citigo hatchback. Models affected include the Fabia, Scala, OctaviaSuperb, Karoq and Kodiaq.

The need to add capacity – which Maier notes is “a good problem to have” – has led to Skoda taking the lead in the construction of a new Volkswagen Group plant in Eastern Europe. The firm is currently considering four sites. 

“By the middle of this year, we have to decide whether to push the button,” said Maier. Which models the plant would build has yet to be decided, but Maier described it as “a completely different product line-up”.

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As with other manufacturers, Skoda also had to work around shortages of some petrol and diesel engines due to the difficulties of rehomologating for the new WLTP regulations, but Maier pins the bulk of the lost capacity on a shortage of body and final assembly.

Additional reporting by James Attwood

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Comments
6

19 March 2019

Under pressure from the parent company, VW, Skoda will not build the new factory in the Czech Republic because it's already becoming too expensive to build cars there. So the new plant will be built further East where labour costs are even cheaper, so the smaller Skoda's will be moving there too.

19 March 2019

Plenty of factories soon to come onto the market in the UK. Cheap price.

 

19 March 2019

The major manufacturers keep choosing more affordable places to throw their cars together, but it will eventually end up hurting them! I bet the people of the Czech Republic would prefer the factory was built in their country, rather than somewhere like Bulgaria, Romania or Lithuania.

 

19 March 2019

I hear there is an opening in Swindon. Lots of eastern europeans there too.

26 April 2019
Already assemble Octavia it us the number 1 top selling saloon in its class. Ee have already bought one 35%cheaper tha chec built and beautifully prepared. If they expand the factory which is not aproblem the could build Fabia Octavia and kodiaq models freeing up space at existing facilities. Workforce plentiful and 50%cheaper than anywhere. Best rail system for goods and sea port free except 3 winter months

26 April 2019
As ford closed up shop they could also save a fortune and take it over. Ford is russia and everwhere else except dear old england is the open wound of the blue oval

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