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SKODA starts new engine centre operations at Mladá Boleslav


AUTO CENTRAL, CZECH REPUBLIC -- September 4, 2014: Officially opened by ŠKODA Board of Management, along with the Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, ŠKODA Works Council and Volkswagen Group representatives Investments of around 45 million euros Centrepiece: 21 new engine and component test benches Competence: 115 years of expertise in powertrain development and production at ŠKODA Mladá Boleslav, 04 September 2014 - ŠKODA AUTO has started operations at the new engine centre in Mladá Boleslav today. Together with Volkswagen Group, the manufacturer has invested around 45 million euros into the expansion of the existing ŠKODA Technology and Development Centre in Mladá Boleslav. The construction period was just under two years.

The Czech car manufacturer is expanding its expertise in engine and powertrain development through this new engine centre. The official opening was attended by the ŠKODA Board of Management, the Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, ŠKODA Works Council Chairman Jaroslav Povšík, as well as senior representatives of Volkswagen Group.

Over the next few years, ŠKODA plans to increase deliveries to at least 1.5 million vehicles per year worldwide. "The new engine centre is an important investment in the future of the ŠKODA brand and the Czech Republic as a manufacturing base. ŠKODA represents 115 years of expertise in engine development. We are strengthening this competency through the new engine centre," says Dr Frank Welsch, ŠKODA Board Member for Technical Development.

"The opening of the engine centre is an important step for ŠKODA AUTO, further increasing the competitiveness of the manufacturer internationally and ensuring job security," says Jaroslav Povšík, Chairman of the KOVO MB Trade Union. "With this new facility, I am confident that ŠKODA will increase the appeal of technical careers to young people and that ŠKODA will be even more attractive as an employer. At the same time, with the new engine centre, Mladá Boleslav has gained another modern building, perfectly complementing its surroundings."

Today, the Czech manufacturer carries out significant development work within Volkswagen Group on brakes, gearboxes, engines and components. Together with Volkswagen Group, the company has invested around 45 million euros into the construction of the engine centre - more than 34 million euros into the new building and around another 10 million euros into its equipment - making this currently one of the largest development investments of a private company in the Czech Republic.

There are 21 engine test benches at the core of the new engine centre. In addition to testing new engine generations prepared for series production, highly dynamic tests are also possible on the powerful 400 kW test benches, such as those necessary for ŠKODA's motorsport activities. Another six specialised test benches are used to evaluate the function and durability of individual components and systems of internal combustion engines.

In light of the growing demand on the global use of engines, powertrains can be tested for the highly diverse markets worldwide - designed for different fuel types.

During the construction of the new engine centre, ŠKODA placed particular emphasis on ensuring operations were as environmentally friendly as possible. The test benches will be able to feed electricity back into the grid or provide power for direct consumption in the building. The heat produced from the cooling cycle and exhaust venting when testing the engines will serve the building's heating system through a heat exchanger. The savings arising from these measures amount to 1140 MWh of heat energy and 400 MWh of electrical energy compared to conventional systems. This corresponds to a reduction of approximately 720 tonnes of CO2 per year. Cooling water is sustainably supplied to the cooling towers from the Jizera River close by, saving 16,000 m3 of drinking water per year. Approximately 48,000 m2 of green land is to be created around the new test centre and other buildings in the vicinity.

ŠKODA is expanding its expertise in research and development with the new engine centre. The manufacturer's Česana plant is the fourth-largest in Volkswagen Group, and one of the most modern in the automotive industry. The existing technology centre was opened in 2008, and has been continuously expanded in several steps. In 2009, the manufacturer opened two climate chambers for vehicle endurance tests and for tests on vehicle heating and air conditioning systems. New acoustic test benches were added at the end of 2010. Additionally, the testing track at Husí Lhota in Úhelnice has been part of the Technical Development department since 2011. This is where dynamic vehicle tests and crash tests are carried out.

ŠKODA is the only car manufacturer in the Czech Republic not only producing but also developing cars and components. Technical Development currently employs around 1700 specialists, engineers, designers and constructors. All vehicles are developed in Mladá Boleslav, not only those for domestic production but also the vehicles that roll off production lines abroad.

The development and production of engines has always been a focus of the company's research and development. To date, ŠKODA has produced around 11.6 million engines.

The latest evidence of the company's engineering competence was the launch of a new 1.0 MPI three-cylinder engine of the EA 211 series at the main plant in Mladá Boleslav at the end of May 2014. The new powertrain is used in the small and compact vehicles of ŠKODA, SEAT and Volkswagen.

ŠKODA has been producing the 1.2 and 1.4 TSI petrol engines of the EA 211 series since the end of 2012. In addition, the 1.2 HTP engines of the EA 111 series have been rolling off ŠKODA's production lines since 2001. At the beginning of May this year, the manufacturer had produced 3 million 1.2 HTP engines.

ŠKODA has a tradition of developing and producing engines; in 1899 - four years after launching a company which constructed bicycles - when ŠKODA's founding fathers Václav Laurin and Václav Klement (L&K) equipped a bicycle with an auxiliary motor for the first time: the so-called Motocyclette. In 1905, L&K developed the company's first automobile, bearing the name 'Voiturette A' - driven by a water-cooled, 7 PS two-cylinder engine with a capacity of 1100 cm³. Further engine milestones during the early years included the construction of the first eight-cylinder engine in Central Europe in 1907. By 1924, even aircraft engines were being produced by L&K.

After the merger with ŠKODA in 1925, the development of engines continued to play an important role. After the Second World War, the first rear engine became a key development step in 1964. 1987 saw the return of the front engine. The decisive impetus for modern powertrain production was the company's association with Volkswagen Group in 1991.

In addition to building engines, ŠKODA also focuses on the production of gearboxes. At the Mladá Boleslav plant, ŠKODA manufactures the MQ 200 manual gearbox and the MQ/SQ 100 gearbox. The DQ 200 dual-clutch automatic transmission is made at the Vrchlabí plant.