ARE THE BEST DRIVER
AN INTERVIEW WITH BERNHARD MAIER, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
production of the SUPERB PHEV – the first
plug-in hybrid vehicle – and also electrical
components for other Group brands. From
2020, Mladá Boleslav will be manufacturing
models with purely electric drive. This was
an important decision for ŠKODA AUTO, as
well as the entire Czech automotive industry.
It confirms the abilities of the entire ŠKODA
AUTO team and a lot of trust that VW Group
puts in the company. It is important to me
that our plants have a secure future. And it
has worked out well in this regard.
Last year, the threshold of 1 million cars
sold was achieved in record time. Do you
expect another record also in 2018?
Another record year would make us all very
happy, but it’s not just about breaking records. The core of the strategy is sustainable and profitable growth. Volume is not the
most important quantity, although it results
from and demonstrates that we are moving
in the right direction. We still have a lot of
work to do, however, because the demand
for our products is currently much higher
than our capacities.
Is it the capacities that represent the
biggest challenge for the car company?
How would you evaluate the past year
for ŠKODA AUTO?
brand. How do you prepare for the
changes to come?
We had a very successful year. Never before About two years ago, we created the corin the carmaker’s history had the ŠKODA rect and fundamental conditions by setting
brand introduced so much innovation and up Strategy 2025 and putting it into momodernisation on the market as in 2017, and tion. This is the biggest change process in
we had never convinced this
the carmaker’s history. The
many customers of the qualstrategy embodies all the
We are entering 2018
topics of the future that the
ity of our cars before.
from a strong position.
entire automotive industry
Our order books are full,
is occupied with: e-mobiliWhat was the deciding
and the demand for our
factor in this success?
ty, digitisation, autonomous
products isn’t dropping.
The whole ŠKODA AUTO
driving and artificial intelliHowever, we must be
team has done a great job;
gence. All projects are runable to satisfy it.
our fellow workers are workning as scheduled, but that
doesn’t mean we are sating for the company to the
best of their abilities. In the
isfied with the milestones
end, the deciding factor in every success is achieved. Every year we will be watching
the people. What is more, this great result closely where to adjust the strategy so that
shows that we have set the right limits for we can respond quickly and flexibly to the
Strategy 2025. Our product offensive on all current development.
global markets kicks in, and we have brilliantly managed to enter the promising SUV Which milestones from the past year do
segment with both the KODIAQ and the KA- you consider crucial?
ROQ model. Customers love our cars, and I have already mentioned the launch of the
they want them. The press is excited, too. So SUV strategy. Then, we have expanded the
far, the new KAROQ has won all the bench- capacities of production plants we are going
mark tests and a number of prestigious to need this year. The VW Group has delawards, such as Auto Bild’s Golden Steering egated the responsibility for the MQB A0
Wheel and the Autonis Award for the Best platform to us – first with the focus on InNew Design of 2017 awarded by Auto Motor dia. It is another project that will require our
full attention and represents an exceptional
opportunity for the ŠKODA brand. We have
You are doing everything you can for the
also managed to introduce e-mobility in the
future competitiveness of the ŠKODA
Czech Republic. In 2019, we are launching
ŠKODA MOBIL JANUARY 2018
Key Account Manager at Nixdorf
Computer AG (1984)
Head of Retail Division at Wallhäuser
Anlagen Gesellschaft (1986)
Management positions at national
and international level at BMW AG
Executive Director of Porsche
Deutschland GmbH (2001)
Member of the Board of Management
for Sales and Marketing at Porsche
Chairman of the Board of
Management at ŠKODA AUTO (since
1 November 2015)
I would like to make one thing clear: We are
entering 2018 from a strong position. Our order books are full, and the demand for our
products isn’t dropping. However, we must
be able to satisfy this demand. We are intensively discussing at all levels how and where
to gradually expand our production capacities so that we can continue in our growth.
It is important to me that everything take
place in the Czech Republic. Therefore, I advocate the conclusion of the Decade Pact –
an agreement that equally emphasises both
employment protection and the flexibility of
Since we mentioned the Decade Pact:
In November, you initiated collective
bargaining between ŠKODA AUTO and
KOVO Trade Unions. What is the current
We are working hard with our social partner to conclude it. Only then can we put
everything together: the securing of Czech
production plants, necessary flexibility, further development of the ŠKODA brand and
the absolutely necessary certainty in planning. I am an optimist. I believe we will lead
both the Decade Pact negotiations and the
collective bargaining constructively and that
we will achieve a result that is favourable to
both the company and its employees.
What are you most looking forward to in
That together with all employees of ŠKODA
AUTO we are going to work on the company’s future and that we will again demonstrate our remarkable performance. Joint
achievements are the best driver. We have
an amazing, highly competent team of
30,000 employees, a clear plan in the form
of Strategy 2025 and strong support from the
VW Group. That’s why I am convinced that
ŠKODA AUTO will grow this year, too. RED