Mlada Boleslav - Car maker Skoda Auto opened a new centre worth EUR45m (about Kc1.2bn) for the development and testing of aggregates in Mlada Boleslav, central Bohemia, today.
Automobilka Škoda Auto 4. září v Mladé Boleslavi otevřela nové centrum pro vývoj a testování agregátů za 45 milionů eur (zhruba 1,2 miliardy korun). V centru vzniklo 21 nových zkušebních stanic pro testování motorů a komponentů. ČTK Petrášek Radek
The centre comprises 21 new units for the testing of engines and components. The construction of the centre lasted almost two years.
The centre was built on the existing premises of the technological and development centre in Mlada Boleslav-Cesana.
The centre will employ about 300 people, mostly the existing employees.
Skoda Auto is the only car maker which not only produces, but also develops cars in the Czech Republic. It has invested over Kc280bn in the country since 1991.
The company develops all its cars - cars produced in the Czech Republic as well as cars produced abroad - in Mlada Boleslav.
Skoda is now taking part in the production of brakes, gearboxes, engines and components within the Volkswagen concern.
Apart from the testing of new engines, which are being prepared for mass production, Skoda will also be able to conduct complex dynamic tests, needed for the activities of the Skoda Motorsport team, for example, in the new centre.
The centre will also enable the testing of aggregates for various foreign markets and for various types of fuels.
Skoda is now developing all types of petrol engines in the centre.
The company will also develop the 1.0 TSI turbo engine there, Skoda's aggregate development head Martin Hrdlicka said.
Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said Skoda Auto is a model example of successful privatisation.
However, the Czech Republic is not prepared for investment because it lacks infrastructure, Babis said.
Central Bohemia governor Milos Petera (Social Democrats, CSSD) said central Bohemia has managed to attract investment in research and development, from which the entire region will benefit for many years to come.
Talks are being held about the extension of Mlada Boleslav's bypass or the extension of the main road leading through the town so as to prevent traffic congestion when shifts start and end at the car plant, Petera said.
Skoda Auto's centre in Mlada Boleslav is the fourth biggest development centre within the Volkswagen concern.
Skoda delivered 522,500 cars to customers in the first half of this year, a year-on-year growth of 12.5 percent. The company expects its car sales to exceed one million units for the first time this year.
Engines production was launched in Mlada Boleslav in 1899.
Skoda has produced about 11.6 million engines so far.