BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Volkswagen Slovakia a.s., Volkswagen AG’s Slovak manufacturing arm, says sales reached 183 billion Slovakia koruny ($5.6 billion) in 2003, up 68% from 2002.

The company imported components worth SKK109 billion ($3.3 billion) and exported vehicles, bodies and parts worth more than SKK182 billion ($5.6 billion) in 2003, a jump of 68% compared with the previous year. The foreign trade surplus of SKK73 billion ($2.3 billion) marks a 121% increase from year prior.

Polo among models built at VW Slovakia.

Volkswagen Slovakia says it invested SKK2.7 billion ($82.8 million) last year.

The auto maker says it built 281,160 vehicles in 2003, but that includes bodies for the Porsche Cayenne cross/utility vehicle, which are shipped to Porsche AG’s plant in Leipzig, Germany.

In addition to the 40,000 Cayenne bodies, Volkswagen Slovakia produced about 241,000 VW Polo, Golf, Bora, Touareg and SEAT Ibiza vehicles, including some 1,000 Golf IV assembly kits for China. There also was output of a small number of the new Golf V in late 2003. Production of the Bora 4Motion was phased out last year.

The auto maker aims to raise output of the Touareg CUV 50% in 2004, from about 60,000 units last year. “To perform the task, we have to take extraordinary measures,” Volkswagen Slovakia Chairman Jozef Uhrik says in a published report.

Also, the Audi Pikes Peak CUV, expected to bow 2005, ultimately will join the mix at the plant.

Volkswagen Slovakia manufactured 338,310 transmissions and 17 million axle and transmission components at its sites in Bratislava and Martin.

According to Uhrik, there are no plans to cut jobs. The auto maker employed 9,242 people at the end of 2003.

How Slovakia Ranks
Among Vehicle Producers
Population* Capacity* Pop./Unit
Slovakia 5,400 800 6.8
Belgium 10,400 1,100 9.5
Japan 126,000 10,000 12.6
Germany 82,600 5,700 14.5
Spain 41,900 2,850 14.7
France 59,500 3,700 16.1
S. Korea 47,000 2,800 16.8
United States 290,000 13,000 22.3
Britain 59,600 1,821 32.7
Sweden 9,000 273 33.0
Italy 56,100 1,600 35.1
Austria 8,000 156 51.4
Netherlands 16,300 240 67.9
Average 18.4

* In thousands