The first examples of the new SUV roll of the Kvasiny production line, ahead of its launch in February.

The first examples of Skoda’s new Kodiaq SUV have rolled off the Kvasiny production line.

“We are pleased that it’s now underway,” Skoda production head Michael Oeljeklaus said. “The series production launch of the Skoda Kodiaq is an emotional moment for the entire company and especially for our colleagues in Kvasiny. Over the last few months, the whole team has been preparing for the start of production of our new SUV model.”

The Koidaq is Skoda’s long-awaited and much-needed contender to the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento. It looks like a highly competitive proposition, too, sporting the biggest trunk in its class, the option of seven seats, and a conspicuously low price point.

Based on VW Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform, the Kodiaq is available with a typically vast range of powertrains. There’s a choice of 1.4-liter and 2.0-liter TSi gasoline engines serving up 125 to 190 horsepower (92 to 140 kilowatts), and a 2.0-liter TDi diesel available in 150 or 190 hp (110 or 140 kW) flavors. Then there’s a frankly bewildering array of transmissions, with various combinations of six-speed manual, or six- or seven-speed DSG gearbox, and front- or four-wheel-drive to choose from.

The Kvasiny factory, near the Czech Republic’s eastern border with Poland, has been extensively updated to accommodate the Kodiaq, the bodyshop, paintshop and logistics areas all being significantly expanded. The expansion will continue over the next few years, as well, to increase the facility’s capacity to 280,000 units per year. 2000 new jobs will be created in the process, bringing the total number of workers there up to 7900.

The 82-year old site also produces the Superb hatchback and wagon, and the Yeti SUV. Last year, between those two model lines, 142,000 cars rolled out of the gates. Skoda operates two more factories in the Czech Republic and has others in Slovakia, Russia, India, and China. Together they produce around one million cars per year.

Skoda Kodiaq production starts