The Skoda Fabia's front end was developed by Hella-Behr Fahrzeugsysteme (HBF), a joint venture owned by German suppliers Behr GmbH & Co. of Stuttgart and Hella KG Hueck & Co. of Lippstadt.
Behr specializes in radiator and cooling systems; Hella specializes in lighting and electrical systems. The Fabia project included major front-end module development and testing responsibilities - a first for HBF.
Porsche Engineering was also involved in development and testing of the module, together with four other suppliers: Promi (foils, films, label), ISE (large metal parts), Menzolit-Fibron (assembly carrier) and BTV (air duct, plastic parts).
Skoda specified the exterior of the module, the cooling system and the fascia, as well as the air intakes. HBF was responsible for developing the assembly carrier for the module, smaller parts and the integration of components.
HBF is also handling the logistics of the project. More than 1,000 variants can be delivered with a lead time of 240 minutes.
Twelve of the suppliers were selected by Skoda, including Hella for the headlamps and Behr for the radiators.
Work on the Fabia project began two-and-a-half years before launch, said Torsten Meyer, head of supplier management at HBF. The main development suppliers were brought on board three months to a year after the start of the project. In the future, Meyer said, HBF would aim for even earlier involvement of the major suppliers to optimize relationships.
HBF is currently in the start-up phase for the Fabia and expects to supply 1,000 front ends a day when full production is reached. The car is being built at Skoda's Mlada Boleslav plant in the Czech Republic.