Skoda makes space for the Roomster

Skoda Roomster

The Czech carmaker SkodaAuto is making space on the factory floor for a brand new model. Known as the Roomster the new multi-purpose vehicle is to be officially launched next March at the Geneva autoshow and suppliers say Skoda has ambitious plans to sell up to 80,000 of the new cars annually.

Ahead of the launch, Skoda is to invest three billion crowns at its Kvasiny factory and hire an additional 2,000 workers at its Kvasiny factory in the Hradec Kralove region. The upgraded factory will be able to produce up to 700 cars a day.

The Roomster, looking something like an aircraft cabin on wheels, was first launched as a design study at the 2003 IAA Frankfurt autoshow. Positioned as a multi-purpose vehicle, the design model featured rear seats that could move 750 mm, wide doors, even a place for bicycles to be bolted into the cabin floor. The Roomster shown in Frankfurt was both longer and higher than Skoda's bestselling Fabia hatchback.

Market sources say Skoda sees room to grow in the MPV segment. While the initial plans called for a making around 20,000 Roomsters a year, the forecast has now been increased to about 80,000. Skoda is also working a number of customized variants for the vehicle, say suppliers.

The Kvasiny factory now makes the large-segment Superb and welds and paints the bodies for the small-segment Fabia sedan. Skoda made 22,899 Superbs and 17,200 Fabia Sedans in 2004, below the factory's production capacity.

The Kvasiny site is near Rychnov nad Kneznou, 120 km east of Mlada Boleslav where Skoda's main factory and headquarters are located.

Many of the planned investments concern logistics. These investments include a new logistics center, a parking area for new cars and Skoda employees, a bus terminal, and a new gateway for truck transport.