Grupo Antolin Bohemia is expanding its Czech operations with a new second factory to handle a wider array of products.
"On the basis of technology differences, we decided to build up a new plant in Turnov," said Managing Director Pavel Valcik. "The plant in northern Bohemia [at Chrastava] will specialize in headliners, the new plant in plastics."
Grupo Antolin expects to complete the new 9,500-square-meter factory by June and have 150 employees there by year-end. The first products will be plastic door panels for Skoda's new upper-medium model replacing the Octavia, and plastic pillars for Ford.
But Grupo Antolin expects much more when it launches a second phase, bringing the assembly area to 25,000 square meters.
"It will maybe be larger than Chrastava," said Valcik.
The expansion builds on the Chrastava factory's success in landing a wider range of project orders.
"We were designed for headliners and package trays," said Valcik. "The first project was for headliners for the Skoda Felicia and VW."
Grupo Antolin stepped into door panel production with the launch of the Skoda Octavia, giving the factory three primary product lines.
But the Spanish-based supplier won more contracts for the Octavia replacement model: door panels, headliners and package trays. In a change, the new Skoda panels will be plastic-based, said Valcik.
The Chrastava factory employs 470 workers and expects sales this year of CZK1.86 billion (60 million). Sales for the new factory are planned at CZK600 million to 700 million. The parent company's 2001 sales were 801 million.