Production of Czech flagship automobile Škoda Superb will move to Slovakia

Volkswagen Group plans to invest up to 1 billion euros in its factory near Bratislava

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 12.11.2020 10:57 (updated on 12.11.2020)

Production of Škoda Auto’s flagship model Superb will move to Slovakia. The Czech automaker currently produces the car in its Kvasiny, East Bohemia, plant.

The Superb will be made alongside the Volkswagen Passat at the Volkswagen factory in Devínská Nová Ves, near Bratislava. The Volkswagen Group plans to invest up to 1 billion euros in the Slovak factory. Škoda is a wholly owned subsidiary of Germany’s Volkswagen Group.

Volkswagen board chairman Herbert Diess first told German magazine Automobilwoche about the move in an interview.

Škoda Auto union leader Jaroslav Povšík confirmed the news to server iDnes. “The Volkswagen Group stole the most profitable flagship from the Czech Republic,” he said.

Production of the Škoda Superb at Kvasiny
Production of the Škoda Superb at Kvasiny. (photo: Škoda Auto)

Škoda, though, has told several news outlets that it would not comment on the future production program.

Povšík said the production of some models now produced in Mladá Boleslav, Central Bohemia, could partially move to Kvasiny. The Mladá Boleslav plant would then have increased capacity for producing the Enyaq IV, an electric SUV. Povšík said that model cannot be produced elsewhere.

He also said that under normal circumstances, workers would have protested by picketing at the factory, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented that.

The move is part of the modernization and expansion of the Volkswagen plant in Slovakia. The plant was established as Bratislava Automobile Works (BAZ) in the 1970s and joined the Volkswagen Group in 1991.

The Slovak government negotiated it with Volkswagen this past summer about new investment in the plant, but at that time the amount discussed was about half of the currently projected 1 billion euros.

Until the coronavirus pandemic, Volkswagen had been planning to build a new factory in Turkey, but a drop in demand for cars made that unfeasible. “We have decided to increase capacity in Bratislava. Because of the coronavirus, we have reconsidered the capacity requirements and currently do not need another plant," Volkswagen’s Diess told Automobilwoche.

Volkswagen plant near Bratislava. (photo: Volkswagen)
Volkswagen plant near Bratislava. (photo: Volkswagen)

He added that expanding the Slovak plant isn’t disadvantageous in terms of costs compared to Turkey. The only downside is that Volkswagen hoped that it would be able to gain a larger share of the Turkish market due to having a local factory.

Relocating Superb production was first mentioned in 2018. Volkswagen at that time announced that this model would remain in the Czech Republic and production of Passat models would start in the Czech Republic by 2023.

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The Škoda Superb, a large family car now in its third generation, has been produced by Škoda Auto since 2001.

Last year, Škoda Auto delivered 1.24 million cars worldwide. It operates three production plants in the Czech Republic, and also produces cars in China, Russia, Slovakia and India, mostly through group partnerships, as well as in Ukraine and Kazakhstan in cooperation with local partners. It is active in more than 100 markets. It employs almost 39,000 people, of which almost 34,000 are in the Czech Republic.

Škoda traces its roots back to car and bicycle maker Laurin & Klement, established in 1895. That company in 1925 was acquired by the industrial group Škoda Works. It was state owned from 1948 to 1991, when it started to be gradually privatized to Volkswagen. Škoda became a subsidiary in 1994 and a wholly owned subsidiary in 2000.