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Volkswagen to Resume Production in Slovak Plant

The plant may halt production again this year over falling demand.

Volkswagen said on Feb. 24 it would resume production at its plant in Bratislava as of Feb. 25 after a seven-day break caused by low demand amid the global economic crisis.

"We will resume the production of all models including VW Touareg, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Skoda Octavia," Volkswagen unions head Zoroslav Smolinsky, but added the plant may halt production again this year over falling demand.

"The seven-day break could lower Slovak exports by some 200 million euros (US$254 million)" and the country's GDP growth for the first quarter by "approximately 0.4 percentage points," Tatra Banka analyst Juraj Valachy said. But the decline in exports will be offset by lower imports on the part of Volkswagen, so the production halt will not have a negative impact on the country's trade balance, he added.

The three Slovak-based car makers -- Volkswagen, South Korea's Kia Motors and France's PSA Peugeot Citroen -- said earlier they expected their combined output to fall by up to 25% this year.

Slovak car production, the driving force of the country's economy, fell for three consecutive months at the end of 2008, shedding 35.7% in December over the same period a year ago after a 16.4% fall in November.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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