Škoda Auto to import cars from Russia to meet demand in Europe

The carmaker Škoda Auto is continuing to set sales records and in order to meet high demand is planning to import some vehicles from Russia, Hospodářské noviny reported. However, most of its automobiles will still be produced in the Czech Republic, the business daily said.

Photo: Škoda AutoPhoto: Škoda Auto Škoda Auto, which is based in Mladá Boleslav northeast of Prague, has been enjoying some of the best months in its history and delivered 114,600 vehicles to customers in November, Hospodářské noviny wrote.

Its biggest seller remains the Octavia marque, of which 41,000 were sold last month. However, to ensure that sales of the small family car remain large on the European market, Škoda Auto has decided to draw on help from its plants in Russia and will import 10,000 Octavias from the country, the head of Škoda Auto’s main trade union, Jaroslav Povšík, confirmed to Hospodářské noviny.

Škoda Auto this year tested Russian production of the Yeti, its compact SUV, for the European market. Due to the increased demand it plans to do the same with the Octavia, starting from next year, a spokesperson for carmaker, Kamila Biddle, told the newspaper.

As with the Yeti, the Octavias will first be imported to the Czech Republic before being distributed to other European states.

As for sales of Škoda Auto’s cars in Russia itself, they have also been on the uptick, said Hospodářské noviny. In November alone they rose by 19.4 percent to 5,700 vehicles.

Nevertheless, Škoda Auto’s factories there have sufficient capacity to be able to produce cars for Europe’s markets and help take some of the strain off the firm’s Mladá Boleslav plant. That said, the volume they can produce is equal to just a small percentage of what the company produces in the Czech Republic.

In order to try to satisfy demand Škoda Auto’s bosses in this country are pushing for the introduction of weekend shifts. While trade unions are opposed to this move, agreement must be reached before Christmas so that workers will know when exactly they need to return after the holiday, Hospodářské noviny said.

At the same time, workers’ representatives are pushing hard for a double-digit pay rise and find themselves in a position of considerable advantage with the company struggling so much to meet demand.

Another big issue Škoda Auto is the possible relocation of Superb production from Kvasiny in East Bohemia to Emden in Germany, Hospodářské noviny reported.

The Superb could start production in Germany from 2020. While Škoda Auto’s management has not yet confirmed the move, trade unionists believe it is a done deal. The matter is due to be decided by the company’s owner, Volkswagen.