In order to minimize development time and costs, Škoda engineers at the Cesana Development Center in the Czech Republic applied the frontloading concept when designing the new Superb. Two factors that were instrumental in the success of this approach were the early exchange of information and the highly realistic virtual simulation of the vehicle long before the first prototype was produced.
To understand how the new Škoda Superb combines striking design with unique technology, you only need to look at the vehicle’s tailgate. Apart from the large company logo that takes pride of place in the center, it is the two-part rear lights that catch the eye. These optically extend the tailgate at the sides so that it seems to merge into the wings, and also light up in the shape of a “C” in the dark – the typical Škoda night design. Opening the tailgate then reveals a worldwide first: the “TwinDoor” can be opened in two different ways – as a small boot lid or as a large tailgate. “With the new Superb, you can see that we have come up with a whole new take on the traditional saloon”, enthuses Eckhard Scholz, the member of the Board of Directors of Škoda Auto responsible for Technical Development. “Thanks to the TwinDoor concept, the Superb combines superior usability with undeniable elegance.”
THE SUPERB TAKES VIRTUAL SHAPE
WORKING HAND IN HAND (FROM LEFT): Karel Švábek, Head of the TF Engineering Department and Roman Havelka, Project Manager for the Superb.
INTENSIVE COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY
Nevertheless, frontloading on its own does not guarantee a successful outcome. If targets are to be met, the first requirement is for an early and intensive exchange of information between all departments responsible for development, design, marketing and brand strategy. They need to work together to continually evaluate and coordinate their requirements for the optical and technical features of a new model. In addition, technical questions relating to production play a central role. What are the actual cost limits for producing a vehicle? And how long will it take? Thanks to modern information technology, both ideas and information can be exchanged more quickly. Sophisticated methods and powerful computers are capable of calculating and graphically visualizing highly complex geometries, airflows, or crash scenarios; this gives virtual insights at an early stage into how the vehicle would actually appear and behave. All of this is done at such a speed that the search for optimum shapes and combinations is no longer hampered by the sheer volume of input data. As Karel Švábek explains: “During the development stage, we examine hundreds and thousands of parameters until the final shape of the model is created, and this is then followed by the first real prototype.”