Škoda and Volkswagen Lay Foundation Stone for New Plant in Russia
Škoda executives joined the Russian Minister of Economy, German Gref, in laying the foundation stone for Volkswagen and Škoda's new manufacturing plant in Kaluga, Russia. Volkswagen Group Board of Directors’ Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder and Škoda Auto Chairman Detlef Wittig took part in the symbolic opening of the plant on Saturday 28 October. The plant construction agreements were signed on May 29, 2006 in Moscow. Škoda and Volkswagen plan to start assembling vehicles next year and the launch of full-capacity production in the new plant (115,000 vehicles a year) is scheduled for 2009. In order to accomplish these goals, the parties involved in the project are going to construct brand new buildings for welding, painting and assembly operations plus necessary office space on a 400-hectare site at the outskirts of Kaluga. Škoda Auto owns a 37.5% share in the joint venture.
Detlef Wittig, Škoda Auto Board Chairman and Volkswagen Group Board Member, said, “The assembly plant in Russia is part of Škoda Auto's site deployment and business development strategy that also includes assembly and manufacturing facilities in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Bosnia, India and, from next year, China. These projects make it possible for the Škoda brand to make maximum use of these markets' dynamic growth. Along with the process of extending its manufacturing capacities, the company gradually will build a network of Škoda sales and maintenance centres in Russia. The objective is to sell high-quality vehicles and, at the same time, provide customers with maintenance services up to international standard.”
The future manufacturing site is about 160 km southeast of Moscow. Construction work started immediately after the official execution of the plant establishment agreement and is indeed intense - over 500 people and more than 200 heavy machines work seven days a week. Over six million cubic metres of soil are going to be moved to level the site.