Volkswagen Group’s newest assembly plant in Ningbo, in southeast China, has opened. This is VW's 16th plant in the country. The plant – a joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp. -- is expected to have a 300,000-unit production capacity every year. This plant will have about 5,700 workers. The plant will be building the mid-sized Skoda Superb initially.
At a later time, VW will add Volkswagen brand and Skoda vehicles that will ride on the company's MQB modular transverse platform. In a statement last Thursday, Martin Winterkorn (the CEO of Volkswagen Group) said that this new, high-tech factory is additional proof of how committed the Volkswagen Group is in doing business in China.
SAIC Motor also has assembly plants in Anting, Nanjing, Yizheng and Urumqi. In 2015, the sixth assembly plant in Changsha in south central China will finish construction.
Furthermore, Volkswagen has a joint venture with China FAW Group too. With the aid of these two Chinese partnerships, VW Group aims to increase its annual production to 4 million vehicles in 2018. From January to September 2013, the sales of Volkswagen in China increased by 18 percent to 2.36 million units.
With just one look, it becomes clear that the new Superb from Škoda brings to the upper mid-sized class new energy. Not only does this version reveal a new front section and a new rear end, its interior has undergone changes as well. Frank Welsch, who is currently the brand’s board member for technical development, shares that the people in-charge of design managed to have this model showcase an attractive and customized design.
Speaking of the rear section, the one in the new Superb was completely redesigned. Precise, clean, and clear, these are words that describe the new rear section. Indeed, everything is where it should be. There is no question that when it comes to the curve of the lights, a reinterpretation has been implemented. The taillights in the rear have a C-shape that is able to shine brighter than ever.
These lights are composed of three light strips, a quality that Škoda has long been known for. However for the new Superb, the rear taillights will use LEDs, a first for the brand. Under the boot lid, one can see two cubist triangles, also recognized elements of the brand’s new design. These can be seen as well in the sheet metal of the Combi and for the limousine, on how the rear taillights are shaped. Long considered as one of the brand’s top-selling models, the design language of Škoda is obvious in the attractive elements.
The balanced proportions combined with the clear lines and the precise quality give this model a commanding presence while displaying elegance. As mentioned, the changes were not limited to the rear end but even the front section. Everything is new, from the vehicle logo, radiator grille, bumper, and bonnet.
Even the A-pillars, fog lights, front headlights, and front fender are new as well. Unlike in previous models, the brand’s logo is now placed in the bonnet’s center and sloped a bit downward, making it even more pronounced.
By redesigning entirely the front headlights, Škoda was able to give the new face of the Superb a character that is truly more expressive. The front section now has bi-xenon headlights that have been integrated with the daytime running lights, which now use LED. A first for the brand as well are the turning signals that now utilize LED.