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Slovak Car Industry Group Sees Output Rising to Record This Year

Carmakers in Slovakia will probably assemble a record number of vehicles this year as demand for models made in the country is set to defy a slowing automotive market in Europe, an industry body estimated.

The total number of cars produced in Slovak factories operated by Volkswagen AG, Kia Motors Corp. and PSA Peugeot Citroen will “slightly” exceed the 926,555 vehicles assembled last year, Jaroslav Holecek, president of the Slovak Car Industry Association, told journalists today in Bratislava. He declined to give an exact estimate, adding it will be less than 1 million.

The industry in Slovakia is benefiting from product mix, which includes luxury models such as the Audi-brand Q7 sport-utility vehicle, as well as smaller cars including Volkswagen Group’s subcompact cars. Output at the three carmakers and their local suppliers is supporting the country’s economic growth even as the uncertainty over the euro region has depressed demand for cars in the continent.

Slovakia’s car production jumped to a record last year after the addition of the so-called New Small Family subcompact models doubled output at Volkswagen’s factory in Bratislava. Kia, which makes Sportage SUVs as well as the cee’d and Venga models, also assembled a record number of vehicles.

Europe car registrations in March fell 10 percent to 1.35 million vehicles, the 18th consecutive decline, with Germany’s auto market plunging 17 percent, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or ACEA, said today. First-quarter deliveries in the region dropped 9.7 percent to a record-low 3.1 million cars.

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