BUSINESS SHORTS

VW Slovakia rolls out second-millionth vehicle

CAR MANUFACTURER Volkswagen Slovakia produced its 2,000,000th car on May 25, while its fourth-millionth gearbox was produced at the end of March. The milestone car is VW Touareg.

"VW needed around five years to produce its first 100,000 cars but now this volume is being produced in six months," said Andreas Tostmann, the chairman of VW Slovakia's board of directors.

"The Touareg has become a symbol of Volkswagen Slovakia," said Tostmann.

Increased investments accompanied its launch, with the company investing €1.3 billion into infrastructure and new technologies.

New SUV models, including the Touareg and Audi Q7, make up 80 percent of VW Slovakia's annual production of around 230,000 vehicles. The VW Polo accounts for the remaining 20 percent. In addition to passenger cars, the company manufactures more than 370,000 gearboxes and 20 million components annually.

VW Slovakia is producing around 1,200 cars daily. In 1991, when the carmaker started production, only six cars were made per day. During VW Slovakia's 15 years of operation, the Bratislava factory has produced nearly 25,000 VW Passats, more than 575,000 VW Golfs, 15,000 VW Boras, more than 740,000 VW Polos, nearly 500,000 VW Touaregs, 100,000 Audi Q7s and 45,000 Seat Ibizas.

Volkswagen Slovakia was started in 1991 as a joint venture between BAZ (Bratislavské Automobilové Závody) and the German Volkswagen AG, which bought the Czechoslovak automaker Škoda at the same time. Its plants in Bratislava and Martin (Žilina Region) now produce cars, gear-box components, and gearboxes.

Volkswagen Slovakia currently employs 10,300 people in Bratislava, 700 in Martin, and 30 in Košice. In 2006, the carmaker celebrated the 15th anniversary of the founding of its Bratislava plant.

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