Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka to discuss possible Skoda production move

Bohuslav Sobotka

Czech Republic Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka wants to meet management and unions at Volkswagen’s unit Skoda Auto to talk about any possible production move to Germany, the prime minister’s office stated on Wednesday.

Volkswagen sources told Reuters that managers and unions are looking to curb rivalry from the lower-cost stablemate, shift a few of its production to Germany and make the Czech brand pay more for shared technology.

“The government has a clear interest which is that all planned investments by Volkswagen and Skoda in the Czech Republic are executed and that production is not moved outside the country,” the statement read.

It said Sobotka planned to meet Skoda board member in charge of human resources Bohdan Wojnar and Skoda Kovo union chief Jaroslav Povsik anytime soon, and would decide more action later.

Povsik stated a partial production shift could be as costly as 2,000 jobs.

“They wish to fill capacity at the German plants,” Povsik informed Czech news agency CTK in reaction to the Reuters report. “The VW Passat is not doing doing well, but they see the (Skoda) Superb is selling well and they want to take it there.”

Skoda has been a prevalent brand in the country. In 1998, Skoda’s exports accounted for 6 percent of total Czech exports, compared to 3.4 percent in 1995, and for 5 percent of overall imports. Some of the present Volkswagen plants in the country includes Vrchlabí, Kvasiny, Mladá Boleslav.

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