Povšík: Efforts to resume Škoda Auto production in Russia are unacceptable
Efforts to resume production of Škoda Auto cars, or the entire Volkswagen Group, in Russia are unacceptable. Jaroslav Povšík, Chairman of the Škoda Auto Works Council, stated this today in the Škoda Trade Union. He reportedly tried to start production in Russian plants as soon as possible. According to him, the local employees never once protested against the war, they only expressed concern about their jobs, even in a way that resembles reproach and threats, Povšík told the weekly.
"I have registered a number of aspects that are unacceptable to me, such as a certain effort to start production in Russian plants as soon as possible. I cannot imagine that at the moment. This is against all the principles of human conscience," said Povšík.
According to him, Germany, which owns the Volkswagen group, is concerned about energy resources from Russia, such as gas and oil in particular. "It is said from Germany that we Czechs are too hypersensitive, probably due to the effect of the long-term occupation by the Soviet army, which began in 1968 and lasted until mid-1991, when the last remnants of the troops left," said Povšík.
According to Povšík, it is clear that Russia was an important market for Škoda. "But one often has to answer the question in one's life: What is more important now? Whether profits for shareholders or living, healthy and happy children, unaffected by genocide and desperate migration with leaving their country, their homes," said Povšík.
At the beginning of March, Škoda Auto announced that it would stop all its activities in Russia due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It will suspend production at its Russian plants in Kaluga and Nizhny Novgorod, and will stop exporting cars to the country. "By suspending business activities in Russia, the Board of Directors of the Volkswagen Group is reacting to the overall situation, which is characterized by considerable uncertainty and disruption," Škoda Auto spokeswoman Simona Havlíková said at the time.
The Russian market is one of the most important markets of the Škoda brand in the world. In 2021, Russia was the second largest market for her. Škoda Auto sold 90,400 cars here. An impact on the company's finances can be expected. In Russia, Škoda produces the Rapid, Octavia, Karoq and Kodiaq models. Three models are produced in Nizhny Novgorod, and Rapid is produced at the Kaluga plant.