Volkswagen production in Slovakia to to triple

Despite the bad news since the beginning of the year, it now seems that car companies are increasing car production, and VW seems to be investing in their factories in our small country in a major way.

The production capacity of Volkswagen's plant in Bratislava will increase to 400,000 following the launch of serial production of its New Small Family car (called "UP!"), VW Slovakia CEO Andreas Tostmann has told the company magazine.

VW's production in Bratislava reached 187,000 in 2008.

"We'll begin production of the new model in early 2011. The number of employees will rise by 1,500, while we'll invest €308 million in the production of this small innovative car," said Tostmann, adding that the move will also lead to the introduction of "new structures" at the plant in Bratislava.

"We've proven that we're able to produce four models under a single roof. It'll be five with the New Small Family one," said Tostmann.

Volkswagen Slovakia achieved a profit of €283.5 million in 2008, which represented an increase of 25.9 percent year-on-year.

On the news front, a turnaround may come already in the fourth quarter, Finance Minister Jan Pociatek said after poor first quarter data on Friday.

'We expect that the situation will improve in the coming quarters,' he told a news conference.

'According to our data we may get mildly into the positive territory in the fourth quarter.'

The ministry had forecast a 2.4 percent full-year economic growth in February. An updated forecast is expected next month.

(Reporting by Martin Santa, writing by Jan Lopatka) Keywords: FINANCIAL SLOVAKIA/FINMIN

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