Skoda mulls third paint shift at Kvasiny plant

VW subsidiary examines production capacity for the Roomster van

Munich. Skoda, Volkswagen's Czech subsidiary, is considering a third shift for paint operations at its Kvasiny factory.

"In a three-shift operation there, we could paint up to 320 car bodies per day," said Skoda production chief Horst Muehl in an interview with Automobilwoche.

Presently, two shifts at Kvasiny can only produce about 200 units.

The reasoning behind such an expansion is the launch of the new Roomster compact van. The vehicle is expected to hit the German market in September 2006. It is based on modules from VW's A and A0 platforms, which are the architectures for the Skoda Octavia and Fabia.

According to CEO Detlef Wittig, Skoda is now looking at the business case for a basic version of the compact Fabia sedan to compete with the low-cost Renault Logan.

If the results are favorable, Skoda could sell the car in the Indian market beginning in mid-2006.

Automobilwoche has also learned that Alfred Rieck is expected to replace Dieter Sitz as the head of Skoda Auto Deutschland.

The firm's German-based subsidiary, headquartered in Weiterstadt, Germany, is responsible for the brand's largest sales market.

Most recently, Rieck was head of sales and marketing for the Touareg and Phaeton luxury brands. Sitz, who is 65, is retiring.

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