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ŠKODA hosts Presidents Miloš Zeman and Joachim Gauck

– Exchanges between ŠKODA Board & trade union KOVO MB and ŠKODA apprentices & students – ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland and ŠKODA Works Council chairman Jaroslav Povšík meet both Heads of State – Successful Czech-German partnership between ŠKODA and VW praised – ŠKODA since 1991 deliveries increase five-fold, 11,000 new jobs, product range expands, … Continued

– Exchanges between ŠKODA Board & trade union KOVO MB and ŠKODA apprentices & students
– ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland and ŠKODA Works Council chairman Jaroslav Povšík meet both Heads of State
– Successful Czech-German partnership between ŠKODA and VW praised
– ŠKODA since 1991 deliveries increase five-fold, 11,000 new jobs, product range expands, development into an international volume manufacturer

ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland (in the middle) today welcomed the Czech President Miloš Zeman (on the left) and the German President Joachim Gauck (on the right). At the meeting they also discussed the successful partnership between the Czech car manufacturer and Volkswagen AG.

Distinguished visitors in Mladá Boleslav: Czech President Miloš Zeman and the German President Joachim Gauck were guests today at ŠKODA AUTO. Several matters were discussed at the meeting with ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland and the ŠKODA Works Council KOVO MB chairman Jaroslav Povšík, including the successful partnership between the Czech car manufacturer and Volkswagen AG. The two Heads of State also exchanged ideas with students from the ŠKODA University and ŠKODA Vocational College, and visited ŠKODA’s main factory and the ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav.

The connection between ŠKODA and the Volkswagen Group is one of the great success stories in automotive history, and represents the close ties between the Czech Republic and Germany. Volkswagen AG became a shareholder of ŠKODA AUTO in April 1991. This partnership and the expertise and dedication of the ŠKODA workforce have since then brought the revival of one of the longest-established vehicle manufacturers in the world. Over the coming years, ŠKODA will continue to grow in close collaboration with the parent company, and increase worldwide deliveries to at least 1.5 million vehicles annually.

“ŠKODA has seen some very significant developments over the past 23 years in its alliance with Volkswagen, and is now established as an international volume manufacturer on more than 100 markets,” says ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland. “The rapid rise of the company is based on the trusting, committed and concerted action of Czechs and Germans together. Our partnership is a perfect example of the good economic and human interaction between our two countries. This close collaboration gives us the necessary vigour to continue writing ŠKODA’s success story for the years to come.”

“What ŠKODA and the whole team have achieved since 1991 is tremendous,” says ŠKODA Works Council KOVO MB Chairman Jaroslav Povšík. “The social dialogue between the trade union and the company is a key success factor, and makes a strong contribution to the positive development of the company. We are also in a cooperative exchange of ideas with the employee representatives of the Volkswagen Group.”

Since entering into partnership with Volkswagen in April 1991, the legendary automotive brand from the heart of Europe has gone from strength to strength. “It was an extremely far-sighted decision by the economic and political leaders of the time to give this German-Czech connection a chance. ŠKODA has seized this opportunity, and plans to significantly strengthen its performance over the coming years,” explains Vahland.

Over the past 23 years, the brand has increased its global sales five-fold, from less than 200,000 to around 921,000 vehicles in 2013. Where the Czech brand was once focused on its domestic market and Eastern & Central European countries in the nineties, today ŠKODA is established as an international volume manufacturer with a presence in over 100 countries. The company has forged a path over the European boarders under the umbrella of the Volkswagen Group, and has expanded its position in the growth regions around the world. China has been the Czechs’ strongest individual market since 2010, where one in four ŠKODAs are now sold.

The manufacturer is now setting new goals. As part of the ŠKODA growth strategy, global sales are expected to rise to at least 1.5 million units per year.

It was around three years ago that the most comprehensive model campaign in ŠKODA’s history began. The product range has grown to seven model series with over 40 variations. Eight new or completely revised models were introduced in 2013 alone. ŠKODA’s model & design campaign will be moving into the next stage this year. The new Octavia G-TEC – the first series-produced Octavia powered by natural gas – is soon to be launched on the market, with the new ŠKODA Octavia Scout to follow this summer.

ŠKODA – A pillar of the Czech economy   
ŠKODA is a pillar of the Czech economy and the heart of the Czech car industry. In 2013 ŠKODA products accounted for approximately 8% of total Czech exports. ŠKODA is the production company with the highest sales in Central Europe. ŠKODA has invested around 280 billion Czech crowns into the Czech Republic since 1991.

Moreover, ŠKODA has significant importance as an employer in the Czech Republic. Since entering into partnership with Volkswagen, ŠKODA has created more than 11,000 new jobs. The company currently employs around 24,000 people in the country.

With three manufacturing facilities at Mladá Boleslav, the East Bohemian town of Kvasiny and Vrchlabí at the foot of the Giant Mountains, the company makes a significant contribution to securing the future of the Czech automotive industry, which today employs around 150,000 people. In 2013, more than 50% of the vehicles produced in the Czech Republic were built by ŠKODA. In addition, ŠKODA is the only car manufacturer to both manufacture vehicles in the Czech Republic, and also carry out R&D. Almost 2000 qualified specialists, engineers, designers and engineers work in the Czech development department.

The excellent partnership and the close social dialogue between the company and the KOVO MB trade union also play an important role in the competitiveness of the company and its locations. An extensive collective agreement was concluded in 2013, incorporating greater employee flexibility and a binding employment agreement; a combination that is so far unique in the Czech Republic.

ŠKODA is also firmly committed to training young people. The ŠKODA Vocational College currently provides training to nearly 1000 young people in many technical subjects. All students receive a job offer upon completion of their studies. The company continuously invests in the quality of education. This year, 45 million crowns will go into new technical equipment and renovations at the vocational college.

The company is particularly interested in inspiring young people to take up careers in technical fields. The existing cooperation with eleven vocational schools in the country is currently being expanded. One key way ŠKODA lends support is by providing vehicles for technical training. Between 2009 and 2013, the Czech manufacturer supplied the colleges with 300 ŠKODA vehicles for this purpose.

ŠKODA University represents the pinnacle of training in higher education. 370 new students began their studies in 2013. In the future, the university plans to become even more international, after concluding the 2013 partnership agreement with Dalian University in China.

The ŠKODA Trainee Programme for master’s graduates from predominantly technical universities and business schools is particularly popular. The Trainee Programme runs twice a year (each April and September) and is undertaken annually by 30 young talents.

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