Škoda Auto started assembling vehicles in Russia

Škoda Auto significantly reinforces its presence in eastern markets. On Wednesday, 28 November, the company started assembling vehicles in Kaluga, Russia. 

The plant is supposed to gradually launch full-scope production of vehicles and thus contribute significantly to the foreign-based production of Czech Republic's largest car manufacturer. With the plant's total capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year, Škoda Auto is going to account for forty percent. The assembly shop will need 3,000 people.

"Russia has already become one of Škoda Auto's strategic markets, and its importance is going to grow in the nearest future", said Jan Hurt, Director of Škoda Auto Russia.

Škoda Auto is sharing the investments in the construction of the new plant in Russia with Volkswagen AG. Having completed the construction that took one year, the plant has just launched an SKD assembly of the Škoda Octavia Tour, the Škoda Octavia and the new-generation Škoda Fabia.

Škoda Auto is planning to launch full-scope production in early 2009. In line with Russian legislation, the share of local suppliers should be 30 %. The Company is planning to manufacture the Škoda Octavia and the Škoda Fabia II in Russia.

"Opening our first production plant in Russia is a milestone in Škoda Auto's expansion to eastern markets, because the region is growing very dynamically and we look at it with high hopes as far as the future of Škoda Auto is concerned," said Škoda Auto BOD Chairman Reinhard Jung.

The key factor in selecting the location for the Group's plant was the fact that the biggest portion of the sales volume in the Russian market is in Moscow that is less than 200 km away from Kaluga. Another important thing is the transport infrastructure, because Moscow and Kaluga are linked by both railway and a motorway. On top of that, the technical university in Kaluga is likely to be a source of qualified manpower in the future.

Škoda Auto sold in total 27,000 vehicles in Russia from the beginning of the year till October 2007. Compared with the same period of 2006, the sales of Škoda vehicles delivered to Russian customers have grown by 82.7 % (from 14,835 last year). The best-selling Škoda model is the Octavia Tour with the 1.4/55kW and 1.6/75kW engines.