“Operating the ŠKODA site in Vrchlabí for 70 years underscores the great tradition of the Czech automotive industry,” says Michael Oeljeklaus, ŠKODA AUTO Board Member for production and logistics. “The modern dual-clutch transmission DQ 200, produced by the local ŠKODA team, is of great strategic importance to the entire Volkswagen Group.”
The ŠKODA plant in Vrchlabí builds on the success of the company Petera & Sons. It was originally a saddlery, later vehicles, including luxury carriages and sleighs were produced there. 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.
ŠKODA cars have been rolling off the production lines at Vrchlabí since 1946. In the same year, the Czechoslovak car-body factory was nationalized and integrated into the company AZNP. The employees played a decisive role in developing the special commercial-vehicle versions of the successful ŠKODA 1101 ‘Tudor’ series. The then modern production line also produced the open-top models and the so-called STWs – the predecessor of today’s estate body version. Until 1981, special car bodies based on the ŠKODA 1200, 1201, 1202 and 1203 series were manufactured at Vrchlabí. These vehicles were superseded by the ŠKODA OCTAVIA (ŠKODA 105/120, FAVORIT, FORMAN, FELICIA, FELICIA COMBI, FELICIA FUN) and ŠKODA OCTAVIA (SKD) for export to Poland.
The Vrchlabí site was transformed from an automotive factory to a highly advanced component-production plant in 2012. Within 18 months, a new factory building had been erected 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 was awarded ‘Factory of the Year’ last year. In corporation with the Volkswagen Group, ŠKODA 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.
ŠKODA’s Vrchlabí plant is one of the most important employers in the Hradec Králové region with its 1,000 employees. The daily production capacity was expanded to 2,000 direct-shift transmissions this year. To date, around 1.4 million DQ 200 transmissions have been manufactured at this location. These are used in ŠKODA cars and other Volkswagen Group vehicles.