Czech Car Makers Hike Output by One-third

Production of passenger and light utility vehicles grew 29.6%

Czech car makers shook off the impact of the global downturn as they raised output by one-third in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period a year ago, trade data showed on April 20.

The production of passenger and light utility vehicles grew 29.6% to 265,985 units in the first three months of 2010, the Automotive Industry Association said.

"The growth was due to higher output at all passenger car producers," Germany's Volkswagen, South Korea's Hyundai and a joint venture of Japan's Toyota and France's PSA Peugeot-Citroen (TPCA Czech), the association added.

Volkswagen's Skoda Auto raised production by 37.6% year-on-year to 134,853 units, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech by 110% to 42,000 and TPCA Czech by 2.16% to 89,132.

"We must note however, that in the first quarter of 2009 output at Skoda Auto was affected greatly by lower demand leading to production cuts, while Hyundai was only gradually launching production," the association said.

Overall production of motor vehicles -- a traditional engine of the former communist economy -- grew 29.1% over a year ago to 267,040 units in the first quarter.

Lorry output rose by 19.4%, while bus production fell by 49.4% and motorbike output slid by 42.6%, the association added.

In 2009, Czech car makers bucked the global crisis as a recovery at the end of the year helped them raise full-year output by 2.85% over 2008 to a record 975,111 cars.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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