Final Word from Thursday, February 11, 2021

Škoda Auto will be fully electric in 10 years, declared Chair Thomas Schäfer on Page 20 of yesterday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Such a significant shift in industrial policy should have been reported first on the front page of Czech newspapers. This tells us something about Schäfer's management style. His name translates as "shepherd," but he risks alienating his Czech flock. Škoda's grand plans don't always work out. Ex-Chair Winfried Vahland had a sales goal of 1.5m by 2018, but last year's global sales were 1.0m. Schäfer's statement is even more serious. It means that some parts suppliers must decide soon whether to make the full transition to electric or to wind down their activities. Much will depend on PM Andrej Babiš and his immediate successor. Schäfer told FAZ that there is no way to get around significant government support for going electric. So Schäfer has set a goal that he admits is vitally dependent for success on big handouts from Czech taxpayers. [ Czech Republic sheep customers subsidy ]

Glossary of difficult words

shepherd - a person who tends and rears sheep;

flock - a number of domestic animals, esp. sheep, goats or geese, that are kept together;

to wind down - to draw or bring slowly to a close;

handout - a quantity of financial or other material aid given to a person or organization.

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