Škoda Auto still struggling to meet demand for best-selling model

Photo: Škoda Auto

Škoda Auto’s third generation Skoda Octavia is proving a big hit with demand still outstripping supply both at home and abroad. According to company sources buyers are still waiting up to 15 weeks for delivery and Škoda’s management is pushing to reach agreement on Saturday work shifts.

Photo: Škoda Auto
The company’s new Škoda Octavia model has been selling like hot cakes ever since it went on sale two years ago. Last year Skoda sold over 389,000 Skoda Octavia models and this year’s figures are expected to be higher. In the summer of this year Octavia RS production at the car’s Mladá Boleslav plant was boosted from 350 to 700 vehicles per week to attempt to satisfy unexpectedly high demand for the sporty mid-sized sedan and wagon models. Today company officials are negotiating the possibility of Saturday shifts but have run into opposition from trade unions.

According to the company’s trade union magazine, trade union leaders have rejected a proposal for compulsory Saturday shifts arguing health reasons. “Our employees are already overworked, there is no interest in extra weekend shifts,” union leader Jaroslav Povšík told the paper. He says however that some kind of solution will need to be found and has urged Škoda management to recruit new workers for multi-shift production at the weekends. The company says the negotiations are not over and while it has given up on the idea of compulsory shifts at the weekend it is still pushing for employees to take extra Saturday shifts on a voluntary basis.

Even with weak supply hampering sales, Škoda reported record profits of 665 million euro (18.4 billion crowns) last year, a 46 percent increase compared to the previous year, driven by its best-selling model. In 2014 Škoda Auto delivered over 1 million vehicles to clients worldwide, a year-on-year increase of almost 13 percent.