Vehicle production is another key element of the ‘GreenFuture’ strategy. Within the framework of GreenFactory, the focus will be on reducing energy and water consumption and the amount of waste generated in the manufacturing of one vehicle. Likewise, emissions such as CO2 and VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds generated in small amounts during the painting of car bodies), are to be lowered by one quarter.
One current example for resource-efficient production is the new press line at the plant in Mladá Boleslav, which was commissioned at the beginning of February. The new press line works more effectively and is among the most modern facilities of its kind in Europe. It requires up to 15 percent less energy than comparable older facilities and is able to temporarily store energy not needed at the time. Together with the Volkswagen Group, ŠKODA invested about 66 million EUR (£57.5m) on this facility alone.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and while the (rumoured) fusion between PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Opel may not be seen as a ‘desperate’ measure, it is certainly no stretch to say that it was dictated by the times. Peugeot have been hit hard by the crisis, harder than most other car manufacturers in Europe, including their conational Renault. One of the reasons for this is no doubt related to the insistence by the Peugeot family on keeping much of their production local. An extraordinary 45% of their global production takes place in France, compared to Renault’s 27%. While this reveals a commendable spirit, it is also something that is now taking its toll, as the same company that once symbolised the French industrial spirit now loses an incredible 200 million euros per month.
Hence the decision to join forces with the German company Opel, who are in a slightly more comfortable position (though they too have been troubled, in particular as they were hit by the increased competition face to some of the better sedans, SUVs and 44 vehicles released in the German market as of late). Mind you, this is not something that has officially been announced yet – it has merely been suggested by the site of the newspaper La Tribune. Still, if we consider that La Tribune had already in the past announced an alliance between Peugeot and another automobile company (this being the American GM, who now control 7% of the French group), and the scoop turned out to be correct, we have a good precedent to take them seriously this time as well.