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05 May 2006

Škoda Auto steps up global production with new distribution facility

Škoda Auto has opened a new CKD centre in Mladá Boleslav this week as part of the Company’s strategic aim to increase efficiency of international operations. The key tasks of the brand new facility include preparation and shipping of unassembled vehicles for Škoda's foreign-based assembly plants.

The centre will currently supply Škoda assembly plants in the Ukraine, India, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kazakhstan, where the company have plants that assemble cars for their domestic markets. It will also be used for a number of projects the preparation of which is now underway, such as the planned opening of a Škoda assembly plant in Russia.

The new CKD logistics centre has been designed for end-to-end preparation, packaging and shipping of Škoda vehicles in three different assembly set versions – SKD (semi-knocked-down), MKD (medium-knocked-down) and CKD (completely-knocked-down). Complete unassembled vehicles are shipped by the centre to foreign-based assembly plants in special containers or by train.

An SKD assembly set is made up of a completely geared body, drive unit (engine, transmission and front axle), rear axle and other chassis parts (such as wheels, fuel tank, exhaust system, etc.). The assembly plant assembles the vehicle and performs a series of checks and tests, employing methods and conditions identical with those applied in all Škoda Auto ”parent” manufacturing plants in the Czech Republic. The SKD system is currently used in vehicle assembly operations in the Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kazakhstan.

One level down in terms of assembly-readiness, the MKD system comprises a painted body plus a further 1,300 – 1,700 parts. The vehicle assembly is performed on a standard assembly line, using a technological process comparable with that applied in the “parent” assembly plant. The MKD system was launched recently in the Eurocar plant (Ukraine) where it is used for the assembly of the Škoda Octavia Tour.

The lowest level of assembly-readiness is CKD. The manufacturing plant delivers body parts and other components broken down to a large number of items. The assembly plant welds and paints the body, installs the drive unit and other components and completes the final vehicle build on a standard assembly line. The CKD-3 system (a modification involving MKD and CKD elements) is currently applied to the assembly of the Škoda Octavia (Octavia Tour), the Laura (the Octavia's name for the Indian market) and the Superb in the Škoda Auto India assembly plant.

With a history of over a hundred years of existence, Škoda Auto has vast experience of delivering unassembled vehicles. In the 1920s and 1930s the company exported unassembled vehicles from Mladá Boleslav to Japan, England, Australia and Russia. In the 1960s and 1970s Škoda vehicles were assembled in New Zealand, Pakistan and Turkey, to name a few. In its more recent history, Škoda has delivered unassembled vehicles since 1994 – the first 1,000 Škoda Favorit bodies were delivered to a plant in Poznan, Poland. About 220,000 unassembled Felicias, Fabias and Octavias were delivered to Poland from 1995 until 2002. Although the assembly of Škoda vehicles in the Volkswagen Poznan plant was terminated in 2002, new assembly operations were opened in Bosnia & Herzegovina (1998), India (2001), the Ukraine (2002) and Kazakhstan (last year). Altogether 283,000 unassembled vehicles were shipped from Škoda Auto's plants in the Czech Republic until the end of 2005.

In 2005, Škoda Auto delivered a total of 492,111 Fabia, Octavia (the new Octavia and Octavia Tour) and Superb cars to its customers in almost 90 worldwide markets reaching a growth by 9%. The company has also confirmed its intention to expand further east with the launch of the Škoda Octavia in China in 2007.
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