ŠKODA is one of the longest-established vehicle production companies still producing motor vehicles with their products being recognisable the world over. Since 1895, the Czech headquarters in Mladá Boleslav has seen the production firstly of bicycles, then motorbikes before settling on cars. From humble beginnings ŠKODA currently have seven passenger car models on forecourts across Europe and further afield, the Citigo, Fabia, Roomster, Rapid, Octavia, Yeti and Superb and, quite remarkably, delivered over one million vehicles to customers in 2014. Staggering. Big, big numbers I’m sure you’ll agree and yet ŠKODA, as a company, doesn’t seem to give off the same enormous corporate feeling that some of the larger manufacturers appear to do.
That said, the company has belonged to Volkswagen since 1991. ŠKODA, in association with their owners, independently manufactures and develops vehicles, as well as components, engines and gear transmissions and can be found operating at three locations in the Czech Republic as well as in China, Russia, Slovakia and India mainly through Group partnerships, as well as in Ukraine and Kazakhstan through local partners.
And so we get to, via a short history lesson, the moment that their 18 millionth car – a ŠKODA Superb Estate in Candy-White – rolled off the production line at the firm’s Kvasiny plant in the Czech Republic. Unsurprisingly, ŠKODA CEO Bernhard Maier, ŠKODA Board Member for Production Michael Oeljeklaus and the Chairman of the Trade Union KOVO, Jaroslav Povšík were there for the occasion.
Visiting the facility for the first time since his appointment in November 2015, Maier said; “Kvasiny is a production site with a great tradition and an outstanding team. You immediately sense the enthusiasm with which people carry out their tasks here. This is where automobile construction is lived, and implemented to an exemplary quality and efficiency. Today we have 18 million reasons to be proud of our employees’ performance. Without them, the success of the ŠKODA brand would be unimaginable.” before continuing, “Producing 18 million vehicles is an enormously high number,” said Jaroslav Povšík. “This milestone is an impressive demonstration of the skill our colleagues at ŠKODA have in car construction, and their great dedication to the company’s success over the past 120 years.” MotorMartin is certainly impressed.
Michael Oeljeklaus shared with MotorMartin, “Over the last five years, we have significantly increased the number of high-quality vehicles produced worldwide. The ŠKODA plants in the Czech Republic have made a significant contribution to this. This is the heart of our international production network. Since 1991, we have invested more than 300 billion crowns into modernizing and expanding our production facilities in the Czech Republic.”
Although not 18 million, a still impressive 150,000 ŠKODA vehicles were produced at the Kvasiny plant in 2015 and 4,500 people are currently employed at the site, making it one of the largest industrial employers in the Hradec Králové region. In 1895, Mladá Boleslav became the foundation for ŠKODA’s success story and 52 years later the Kvasiny plant was established as a second important production site in former Czechoslovakia.
Selected milestones in ŠKODA AUTO’s manufacturing history:
19 January 2016: 18 million ŠKODA cars produced since 1905
24 November 2015: 12 million ŠKODA cars produced at the Mladá Boleslav plant
10 December 2014: ŠKODA manufactures the 1 millionth vehicle in 2014 – the first time the company had produced one million vehicles in a single year
19 March 2014: 11 million ŠKODA cars produced at the Mladá Boleslav plant
26 August 2013: 4 million ŠKODA Octavias produced
9 July 2013: 1 Million ŠKODA vehicles in China since 2007
5 February 2013: 15 million ŠKODA vehicles since 1905
30 January 2012: 14 million ŠKODA vehicles since 1905
12 October 2011: 10 million ŠKODA vehicles at the Mladá Boleslav plant
8 April 2009: 12 million ŠKODA vehicles since 1905
13 July 2006: 10 million ŠKODA vehicles since 1905
1991: 5 million ŠKODA vehicles since 1905
Heady days indeed for the folks down at ŠKODA where they continue to build upon their success. With cars such as the recently relaunched Superb, MotorMartin doesn’t feel that this is a manufacturer that will be sitting on it’s laurels anytime soon. Well done ŠKODA for such a massive achievement.
Where will you go?