Former Czech Prime Minister Petr Pithart and former Minister of Industry Jan Vrba called on the Czech government to express its concern about the possible change in the position of Škoda Auto in the group. According to them, a possible restriction of the model lines and a focus on cheap cars for developing markets would be in conflict with the annexes to the agreement, on the basis of which Volkswagen entered Škoda 30 years ago.
This follows from a letter sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. According to Pithart, VW contributed to the cultivation of the market environment in the Czech Republic and to the improvement of relations between the Czech Republic and Germany.
“We are all the more concerned about some hitherto unofficial statements by VW officials that Škoda’s position within the VW Group should change. According to the said statements, Škoda should focus on the production of cheap cars for cheap markets. If that happened, it would be contrary to the intentions stated in the annexes to the agreement between the Czech government and the VW Group, and this would have adverse financial consequences for Škoda and its subcontractors, “he stated with Vrba in a letter.
Volkswagen director Herbert Diess told the media in the summer that Škoda was not “aggressive enough” in competition with Koreans and French in terms of the volume of cars sold. According to him, the carmaker must strengthen its position in the segment of cost-effective cars and, on the contrary, it does not make sense for it to be the third premium brand of the concern. Not only the German media have been writing for a long time about Volkswagen being bothered by the success of Škoda, whose models compete with other brands of the group beyond expectations.
The new Chairman of the Board of Directors of Škoda Auto, Thomas Schäfer, told Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (YES) in August that he wanted to take the Škoda brand to the next level, increase its performance and support further growth. Babiš stated that Schäfer assured him that Škoda would continue to produce top cars and maintain a very high level of investment in research and development from recent years.
In Mladá Boleslav, Škoda Auto produces the Fabia, Fabia station wagon, Scala, Kamiq, Octavia, Enyaq and partly Karoq models. The Škoda Superb and Kodiaq are manufactured in Kvasiny in the Rychnov region, where another part of the Karoq SUV is also produced.
Last year, Škoda Auto delivered 1.24 million cars worldwide. It operates three production plants in the Czech Republic, produces in China, Russia, Slovakia and India, mostly through group partnerships, as well as in Ukraine and Kazakhstan in cooperation with local partners. It is active in more than 100 markets. It employs 39,000 people, of which almost 34,000 in the Czech Republic.