Skoda has taken the unusual step of shifting wiring harness production from war-ravaged Ukraine to a home plant in the Czech Republic – as the ongoing conflict disrupts supply of the vital component.
Russia’s war hit Ukraine’s cable harness production chain hard, which in turn smashed multiple European car brands reliant on this key componentry. The wider Volkswagen Group has been heavily impacted.
Skoda was forced to stop production of its hyped new Enyaq iV electric SUV for eight weeks from March 3 due to a lack of harnesses, which had a massive impact on the launch rollout into global markets, leading to substantial delays and logjams.
Skoda and supplier PEKM Kabeltechnik relocated part of the cable harness production from Ukraine to Mladá Boleslav within five weeks of the war starting. PEKM built the production equipment in assembly halls provided by Skoda, and manufacturing ramped up from April.
The new facilities are staffed by 35 women from the original plant in Lviv, who are now training new employees. Harnesses for the Fabia wagon are now being produced at Skoda headquarters, with harnesses for the Octavia, Kodiaq, Karoq and Superb to start imminently.
All of Skoda Australia’s cars come from this region, and therefore this should in time help alleviate ongoing shortages affecting local product.
Skoda says it has only “partially relocated” harness production to the Czech Republic – “in close coordination with the affected suppliers”, it hastened to add – and intends to further shore-up supply by starting production at other company plants in Europe and North Africa.
It says the aim of the measures is to “safeguard the company even more effectively against potential supply bottlenecks and disruptions to the supply chain in the future”, adding that the arrangements will allow for current production volumes to be doubled if necessary.
The lack of wiring harnesses has been yet another headache for multinational car brands battling to make enough vehicles, alongside ongoing COVID interruptions, semiconductor shortages, and shipping snags.
“At Skoda Auto, we have been working very closely with our partners over the past few weeks to minimise the impact of the war in Ukraine on the supply of cable harnesses,” said Board Member for Purchasing Karsten Schnake.
“With great dedication, we managed to resume production in Ukraine within a short period and also significantly increase manufacturing capacities. I would like to thank the entire team and all the suppliers involved for this achievement.
“At the same time, I can assure our Ukrainian partners that we are and will remain fully committed to them. They have our utmost respect for continuing to supply us as the circumstances permit.”