Skoda’s Vrchlabí plant celebrates 70 years

Skoda’s Vrchlabí plant celebrates 70 years

the Skoda plant in Vrchlabí
the Skoda plant in Vrchlabí

The Skoda Vrchlabí plant has been part of Skoda’s production network for 70 years. The rapid and successful 2012 transformation of the site for the pioneering production of automated dual-clutch transmissions (DQ 200) is an intrinsic part of the company’s long-term investment programme. The gearboxes from Vrchlabí are for Skoda automobiles and other Volkswagen Group vehicles.

“Operating the Skoda site in Vrchlabí for 70 years underscores the great tradition of the Czech automotive industry,” says Michael Oeljeklaus, Skoda AUTO Board Member for production and logistics. “The modern dual-clutch transmission DQ 200, produced by the local Skoda team, is of great strategic importance to the entire Volkswagen Group.”

The plant in Vrchlabí builds on the success of the company Petera & Sons. It was originally a saddlery, later the owners began producing vehicles, including luxury carriages and sleighs. Founded in 1864 by Ignatz Theodor Petera, the company produced the first automobile bodies in 1908. Three years later the factory received a prestigious commission from Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I.

Skoda cars have been rolling off the production lines at Vrchlabí since 1946. In the same year, the government nationalized the Czechoslovak car-body factory and integrated it into the company AZNP. The employees played a decisive role in developing the special commercial-vehicle versions of the successful 1101 ‘Tudor’ series. The production line also produced the open-top models and the so-called STWs – the predecessor of today’s estate body version. The production until 1981 was of special car bodies, which base was Skoda 1200, 1201, 1202 and 1203 series. The Skoda Octavia (Skoda 105/120, Favorit, Forman, Felicia, Felicia Combi, Felicia Fun) and Skoda Octavia (SKD) for export to Poland superseded these vehicles.

Skoda cars have been rolling off the production lines at Vrchlabí since 1946

The Vrchlabí site transformed from an automotive factory to a highly advanced component-production plant in 2012. Within 18 months, there was a new factory building and the existing production halls – modernized. For the rapid preparation of the DQ 200 production and the dynamic development of the site, the Vrchlabí plant received the award ‘Factory of the Year’ last year. In corporation with the Volkswagen Group, Skoda has so far invested around 250 million euros for DQ 200 production in the reconstruction of the production halls, technical equipment, the gear-production training centre, and logistics. The Vrchlabí plant has evolved into a high-tech location in recent years.

The Vrchlabí plant is one of the most important employers in the Hradec Králové region with its 1,000 employees. The daily production capacity expanded to 2,000 direct-shift transmissions this year. To date, around 1.4 million DQ 200 transmissions have been manufactured at this location. They are for Skoda cars and other Volkswagen Group vehicles.