The Digilab division of Skoda Auto, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen group, today announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding for opening an office in Israel in cooperation with Champion Motors, the importer of Volkwagen group brands to Israel. The office will search for advanced smart car technologies and investment opportunities that can be included in the brand's technological systems.
Skoda Auto CEO Bernhard Maier said, "Israel is a high-profile source of digital innovation. Having a presence in Israel and direct access to innovative projects, high-tech startups, and IT talents is of great importance to Skoda Auto. In this way, we are convinced that we can apply the region's creative ecosystem and expertise in digital development to important projects. Skoda Auto's current focus is on areas such as speed testing, creating prototypes, and assimilating digital technology."
The official purpose of the office is to "develop an ongoing dialogue with regional leaders in the IT scene, and with companies and universities. The focus is on work with Israel startups that have achieved a certain degree of maturity. Innovative projects will be spotted in the early stages, and new business models for Skoda Auto can be developed from them."
Prof. Itzhak Swary, chairman of Allied, which owns Champion Motors, said, "We are happy to work with Skoda Auto, and to further strengthen cooperation with it."
Champion Motors and its parent company, Allied Investments, have compiled a portfolio of "quiet" investments in auto startups in recent years, and have served as a connecting factor between the Volkswagen and Audi group and various concerns in the Israel smart car sector.
Skoda's Digilab smart car division, officially founded as a separate business unit in October last year, functions as an innovation center and incubator for advanced auto technologies and transportation solutions being considered by Skoda for inclusion in its future cars. This measure follows a series of similar measures at various levels of investment in Israel over the past two years in Israel by a series of auto manufacturers, including Daimler, Renault-Nissan, Volvo, Honda, Porsche, etc.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on August 24, 2017
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