BRATISLAVA -- The Slovak unit of Volkswagen AG increased car production 45 percent in the first six months from a year ago, driven by rising demand for SUVs.
Volkswagen Slovakia assembled 94,600 vehicles from January to June, the company said in an e-mailed statement from Bratislava, Slovakia, Thursday.
The carmaker assembles the VW Touareg, Audi Q7 and bodies for the Porsche Cayenne at its Bratislava factory. Production in the second half of this year will be "positively influenced" by the start of serial assembly of the so-called "New Small Family" of model, the company said.
VW is planning to unveil the first car in this lineup, the Up minicar, at next month's Frankfurt auto show.
In the coming years a range of cars, grouped under the label New Small Family, will be introduced, from a coupe to a minivan. A decontented variant is planned for emerging markets and VW's sister brands, Skoda and Seat, will get their own versions.
The new range will be strategically important to VW as it aims to become the world's best-selling automaker by 2018. In 2010, VW Group (including Audi, Skoda, Seat and Lamborghini) sold 7.14 million units, behind Toyota with 8.42 million and GM with 8.39 million. On Friday, the VW Group reported retail sales rose to 4.75 million in the first seven months.
Sources: Bloomberg; with contributions from David Jolley