Škoda plant to boost production in face of growing demand

Škoda-Werk in Kvasiny (Foto: Archiv Škoda Auto)

With customers having to wait months for some models, carmaker Škoda Auto has decided to extend the working week at one of its Czech factories, Hospodářské noviny reported on Wednesday. However, finding new hires for Škoda’s Kvasiny plant may not be easy, the daily said.

Photo: Škoda Auto
From the start of January the Škoda Auto factory in Kvasiny in East Bohemia will go from five days of 24-hour production a week to six. The move comes on the back of higher than anticipated sales, while the company is also due to begin rolling out its new Kodiaq SUV in the near future.

The head of production at Kvasiny, Jiří Černý, told Hospodářské noviny that the plant was working flat out to produce existing models and prepare new ones.

The head of the Volkswagen-owned company, Bernhard Maier, said the boost in production had been decided on after talks with trade union representatives.

However, Hospodářské noviny reported, it may not be easy for Škoda Auto to increase its shifts by 20 percent. The Rychnov district, where the plant is based, has the lowest unemployment rate in the whole country. When it comes to hires, the carmaker has to compete with its own suppliers in the area.

Starting pay at Kvasiny is CZK 22,000 a month while the average salary factoring in rises and bonuses is CZK 35,000, considerably above the national average income.

Mr. Černý told the daily that prospective employees were being attracted by bonuses such as special deals on Škoda cars and accommodation allowances.

However, the company still needs to make hires in Poland and Ukraine, the executive admitted.

In 2015 Škoda Auto made a net profit of CZK 31 billion and it has continued to grow this year, with revenues jumping by over 10 percent in the period from the start of January to the end of June.

The fact that revenues and profit is rising at a faster clip than production also reflects the fact that the firm is managing to sell larger and more expensive vehicles on which the margin is higher, Hospodářské noviny said.

One reason for Škoda Auto’s impressive profits is the success of its Superb model. While it rolled out 300 cars of the previous generation every day, it is currently producing more than 400 Superbs daily.

Despite this boost, some customers are having to wait up to three months or longer for their new Superb to arrive at the showroom. In the past the waiting time could be even longer than six months.

As well as that model, the Škoda Auto factory in Kvasiny makes the Yeti SUV, which is due to be overhauled next year. Meanwhile, the new Kodiaq SUV will enter production before the end of this month.