BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Slovakia, the world's largest producer of cars per capita, expects record output this year, the Association of the Slovak Automotive Industry (ZAP SR) says.

“We expect the total production of at least 630,000 cars this year,” ZAP President Jozef Uhrik tells the media here. Until now, the country’s best production year was 2008 with 575,776 units.

In 2010, the three Slovak auto makers – Kia Motors Slovakia, PCA Slovakia and Volkswagen Slovakia – manufactured 561,993 cars, up 21.3% from crisis-year 2009.

Last year’s figure means output of 103.4 cars per 1,000 inhabitants, which made the country the world’s biggest producer of cars per capita, followed by Czech Republic and Slovenia.

The Kia plant in Teplicka nad Vahom, near Zilina, will remain Slovakia’s largest car maker this year, by volume.

The company produced more than 229,500 vehicles in 2010, and the original target for 2011 was 240,000, but Kia expects to make even more cars this year.

The auto maker’s factory builds 5-door, 3-door and wagon versions of the Kia cee'd compact car, as well as the Sportage cross/utility vehicle.

The company phased out production of the Hyundai ix35 CUV (Tucson in the U.S.) last week.

The ix35 will be transferred to the Hyundai’s Czech plant in Nosovice in neighboring Czech Republic with start of production scheduled for July.

The Kia Venga multipurpose vehicle, built in Czech Republic since fall 2009, will be moved to Slovakia. After the transfer, Venga volume production will be launched in October.

The Volkswagen plant in Bratislava, which manufactured 144,510 units last year, is expected to reach more than 200,000 this year.

In addition to the Audi Q7 and VW Touareg, as well as the Porsche Cayenne bodies, the facility plans to launch serial production of the New Small Family minicar range in August. The cars will be sold under the VW, SEAT and Skoda brands.

PCA Slovakia produced 186,150 Peugeot 207 hatchbacks and Citroen C3 Picasso microvans at its plant in Trnava and expects a similar figure for this year. In April, the French auto maker announced it will launch a new model and add a third shift next year.