Volkswagen's Slovak factory doubles output on Up minicar launch
Half of production at VW Bratislava is for the Up, shown, and its siblings.
BRATISLAVA (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen doubled output at its Slovak factory to a record level last year as the introduction of the new Up minicar and its Skoda and Seat siblings offset slowing demand for cars across Europe.
The plant in Bratislava built 419,888 vehicles, compared with 210,441 in 2011, the unit's chief Albrecht Reimold told reporters today.
The Up and its sister models, the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii, accounted for almost one-half of production. Bratislava also builds the Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7 SUVs, as well as bodies for the Porsche Cayenne.
Bentley CEO Wolfgang Schreiber said earlier this week that the British ultraluxury brand's new SUV, which will share a platform with the Touareg, Q7 and Cayenne, may also be produced at the Slovak plant.
The factory will seek to maintain the record production volume, depending on market conditions, Reimold said. "In 2012, we operated on the edge of our production capacities," he said. "The worldwide market is developing positively. So far this year, we have been doing quite well."
More than one-third of SUVs produced in Slovakia were shipped to non-European markets, led by China and the United States. Exporting outside Europe helps Volkswagen counter slumping sales on the continent.
VW brand's Up was the best-selling model of the group's three minicars last year selling 113,662, according to data from JATO Dynamics. The Skoda Citigo sold 27,660, while Seat's Mii sold 18,810 in the same period.Contact Automotive News