We have many new ideas

8/1/2007
During the last interview with the members of our top management, we spoke directly to Dr. Eckhard Scholz, who is the member of the management board responsible for the area of technical development.
 
After a few months working for Škoda Auto, I can assure everyone that we have many new and exciting ideas in the sphere of products.  We have a motivated and efficient team ambitiously working on each new project whole-heartedly and with great determination.
 

Looking back at Geneva
Q: If you could take another “look back” at Geneva – what it brought / represented – are we going in the right direction (the new Fabia, Yeti, Joyster) or will it be necessary to “intervene”  in our current development strategy to a greater or lesser extent?
 
E.S.: "In my opinion, Škoda Auto is on an excellent path. I have met up with a well thought-out product strategy and cyclical plan. In respect to this, it is necessary to systematically continue along the successful path. Certainly, though, there will also be smaller or even some greater interventions, also in terms of design among other areas. We will continue to intensify our efforts in the area of consumption. The discussion on CO2 will have a significant influence on decisions regarding all new products at Škoda Auto."
 
Personal goals
Q: What personal goals did you set when you assumed your post, and which have you managed to fulfil (even if just partially for now)? Will the implementation of your ideas mean any fundamental change in the field of tech. development at Škoda Auto? 
 
E.S.: "When I assumed this very interesting post at Škoda, I resolved to set a few ambitious goals. Certainly it would be rash to speak of any goals that have been fulfilled after such a short period of time. For me it is important that future products be clearly focused on the brand and its principle value. 
In almost every area, I have specific ideas that are governed by the brand’s philosophy and by the history of the Škoda company. Yet fulfilment of personal goals is not what is at issue here; it is about the company’s long-term success. 
Significant changes will only be made where I see serious shortcomings. Of course, thus far I have not come across any, so in this respect I can reassure you."
 
The new Superb
Q: In an interview for Škoda Auto Internet at the Geneva car show, Mr. Ludanek indicated that the new Škoda Superb model is already a task for you, his successor. How is development work progressing? Will the new model undergo any more changes compared to how it looked when “espionage photographs” resulted in it showing up in the media some time ago?  
 
E.S.: "Development work is progressing excellently, also in co-operation with our colleagues in production and quality management. We have been working on optimisation intensively, and we have looked for the best solution for every detail.  
In terms of appearance, please allow yourself to be surprised. I am certain that the result will thrill everyone, not just us at Škoda Auto."
 
Škoda Yeti
Q: Have you decided to advocate any fundamental “adjustments” to the development project for the Yeti model? What phase is the project in – will the four-wheeler be on offer from the beginning, and what engines will be on offer?
 
E.S.: "A few adjustments to the project will be made without changing its basic character. We have already tried the first prototypes and we are incorporating the knowledge we have gathered into the project. The car stirred up a lot of enthusiasm at concern homologation runs.
In terms of drive options, we will of course offer the Yeti with all-wheel drive right from the outset. In terms of engines, we will be able to offer the most modern concern engines; this includes the 1.8l EA888 engine which we are newly offering in the Octavia model. This engine offers an excellent driving experience."
 
Alternative fuels
Q: In your opinion, what are the prospects for using alternative fuels? When can we expect them to be used to a greater extent in Škoda cars (CNG, hydrogen etc.)?
 
E.S.: "With conventional fuels, first it is necessary to offer options that will have optimised consumption. My aim is to always offer one fuel efficient model in the major product lines. We are working very intensively on the subject of CNG, but I am unable to provide you with specific  dates of implementation. Overall, we are working on alternative fuels with a lot of verve."  
 
Electronics in cars
Q: In your opinion, what will be the trend in the use of electronics in cars in the near and more distant future? Will it “decide on everything”, or instead will we produce “simpler” cars with a minimum amount of electronic systems and components? What is your opinion on the use of the Internet in cars?
 
E.S.: "Electronics will be an indispensable part of the future generation of cars. In my opinion, it is necessary to master electronics, not avoid them. No other area is prepared to inspire greater innovations. 
Among simple and budget cars, though, we will definitely need to limit ourselves because these innovations, of course, carry a high cost.
In my opinion, Internet in the car will become a standard feature in cars in the foreseeable future, and in and of itself this no longer represents a special technical challenge."
 
Engines
Q: Among trade journals as well as the public at large, the current range of engines for Škoda cars is the frequent subject of criticism and critical commentary – particularly in terms of performance indicators in petrol engines (flexibility, dynamics, consumption, breadth of the range). And among diesels, the long and drawn-out transition from the already outdated pump-injector injection system to the more modern common rail system etc. is criticised. What changes can be anticipated? Will the concern engine 1.4 TFSI appear in Škoda cars? How significant a role does the environment play in technical development – will emissions reduction requirements be reflected in changes in the development of diesel engines?
 
E.S. "In case of the properties of petrol motors, it is necessary to assess a number of factors which often work against one another. On the one hand, the weight of the cars is increasing because equipment that increases safety and comfort is being installed more and more often; on the other hand, though, ever stricter environmental criteria must be fulfilled. This all has a significant influence on the fuel economy of internal combustion engines.
This is why we are looking for additional paths so we can utilise the potential offered by spark ignition engines even more. One of these paths is engine downsizing, which is reducing the engine’s displacement volume while adding a single or double superchager. An example of this method is the 1.4 TSI engine which will also be offered in our cars in the future.
In the area of compression-ignition engines, we are working on using common rail technology which offers us additional opportunities in terms of reducing consumption and emissions. The use of this has already been planned; the goals are very ambitious, but realistic. We have to concern ourselves with offering our customers a mature, tried and proven product. Otherwise, there is no reason to put pump-injector systems into a bad light. After all, for millions of customers this design was a valid one for many years."

Message to users
Q: In conclusion, what message would you like to communicate to our website users and visitors, and perhaps employees of our motor car company?

E.S. "After a few months of working for Škoda Auto, I can assure everyone that we have a lot of new ideas for products that we are developing with enthusiasm and great ambition. We have a motivated, productive team who works on new projects with a lot of ambition and commitment.
I myself am investing all of my knowledge and energy into this task, because it is only with new products that we’ll be able to ensure a permanent future for Škoda Auto – and thus for ourselves."

 
  
 
 
 
 


RSS