The new Superb – the latest “made in Bratislava” Škoda

The new Superb – the latest “made in Bratislava” Škoda

The brand new Škoda Superb, whether the hatchback or the Combi estate, starts its journey to customers from Bratislava. Find out about the long tradition of Škoda car production in the Slovak capital.

28. 11. 2023 Škoda World

The first three generations of the Superb have been produced in Kvasiny in the Czech Republic since 2001, but the fourth generation will soon roll off the production line in Bratislava. The car factory founded in the early 1970s as the Bratislava Automobile Works (locally known as BAZ) not only supplied components to Mladá Boleslav, but also produced entire Škoda cars, such as the Garde and Rapid coupés that were very popular in their time. And the Škoda Citigo is a more recent example.   

The latest generation of the Škoda Superb will be made in Bratislava.

Difficult beginnings

When the Bratislava Automobile Works based in the Devínska Nová Ves district was established on 1 July 1971, it was thought that this factory would make mid-range passenger cars. Instead of the contemplated production under licence, a decision was made to focus on the Škoda 720, then being developed in Mladá Boleslav. The classic concept car with a front engine driving the rear wheels was to be offered as a saloon as well as a more practical estate. But the project did not get past the prototype stage and ended up on ice.

A photo of the Bratislava motorworks from the 1980s.

The generous investment in modern equipment at the Bratislava car plant, including large-capacity pressing and welding plants, almost came to nothing. For a long time, the factory was limited to making accessories and parts or subassemblies supplied to other Czechoslovak car manufacturers, such as door hinges and axle parts for Škoda cars. The product range was supplemented by industrial robots and manipulators.

The prestigious Garde

The very first automobile mass-produced in Slovakia was the Škoda Garde coupé, one of the pinnacles of Czechoslovak car design at the time. Production of the Garde was moved here from Vrchlabí in the Czech Republic in April 1982. Within three years, four thousand units of the popular model were produced.

Škoda Garde

Not wanting to stay on the sidelines, the designers in Bratislava developed their own BAZ Škoda 743 Locusta coupé based on the Garde. What stood out about the Garde were its specific looks and, above all, the engine of the Yugoslavian brand Zastava (Fiat licence), powering the front wheels. Another interesting project developed at the BAZ factory was the light commercial vehicle Furgonet from 1982-1983, which was based on the Škoda 105/120 sedan. The engine remained in the rear, in this case under the floor of the spacious box-like body. As with the Locusta and many other projects, however, it didn’t get past the prototype stage.   

1982_kveten_furgonet_var01-copy_cb2ff97a The Furgonet, a light utility vehicle developed in Bratislava, never got beyond the prototype stage.

In the following period, the production of axles and other components continued in the halls of the Bratislava factory, mainly for the Škoda 130/135/136, Rapid and Favorit models, but also for the Škoda 1203 light commercial vehicle, whose production started in Vrchlabí in the Czech Republic before moving to Trnava in Slovakia.

1991: under the wings of VW

After 1989 and the end of the communist state-run economy, the search for strong strategic partners for Czechoslovak companies began. In the case of the Bratislava Automobile Works, the serious candidates included General Motors, Renault and Volkswagen. As in the case of Škoda in Mladá Boleslav, the offer from VW, already the largest European car manufacturer at that time, was rated highest. In March 1991, the concern acquired a majority in the company, later becoming the sole owner and the company was renamed VW Slovakia. Today, a total of about 11,000 employees work for VW Slovakia at the Bratislava, Stupava, Martin and Košice plants.

An Audi Q7 being made in Bratislava.

The first model of the new era in Bratislava was the third-generation Volkswagen Passat (B3), with production of the Variant Arriva estate car starting on 21 December 1991. Manufacturing of transmission systems followed, and other models of a total of five Volkswagen Group brands were also added, for example the VW Golf and Polo. Another milestone in the company’s development was the 2002 launch of production of the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne large SUVs, later joined by the Audi Q7.

Škoda returned to Bratislava in the form of the Octavia model in 2008-2011. This was followed by the production of the Škoda Citigo (2011-2021) and, from 2019, the first mass-produced electric vehicle of the Mladá Boleslav brand – the Škoda Citigoe iV.

191120-start-of-production-for-the-battery-powered-skoda-citigoe-iv_a3129c23 2019 marked the start of production of the Škoda Citigoe iV in Bratislava.

The popular Karoq SUV has also been made in Slovakia for some time.  Now, the range of Slovak-made cars will be complemented by the new Superb and Superb Combi.

Superb for the next generation

Compared to its predecessor, the fourth-generation Superb is longer and taller, offering even more space for the car’s occupants and cargo. In addition to the traditionally attractive value-for-money, high utility value and practicality, enhanced by 28 Simply Clever solutions, customers will also be impressed by the car’s cutting-edge technology and, last but not least, the strong emphasis on sustainability. The six powertrains on offer include advanced turbocharged four-cylinder engines powered by petrol or diesel, and in addition to the mild hybrid, a plug-in hybrid version with an electric range of over 100 km will also be available. An all-wheel drive Superb will also be offered.