The oldest carmaker in Slovakia celebrates a jubilee

Volkswagen came to the Slovak capital in 1991.

Volkswagen plant in SlovakiaVolkswagen plant in Slovakia (Source: TASR)

Bratislava-based carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia has celebrated its 30th anniversary on entering the Slovak market.

“The 30-year history of Volkswagen Slovakia is a success story behind which thousands of employees stand,” said Oliver Grünberg, chair of the board of directors in Volkswagen Slovakia.

President Zuzana Čaputová, who visited the Bratislava plant on May 31 on the occasion of the anniversary, stressed that the company is the largest player regarding car production, which constitutes a significant portion of Slovakia’s industry.

“This is why further development in this field is very important,” she said in her speech, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “We know that e-mobility, the production of hybrids and e-cars will be one of the ways to protect the climate in the future.”

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Volkswagen Slovakia launched its production in 1991 with about 100 employees on the premises of the former Bratislavské Automobilové Závody company, manufacturing the Volkswagen Passat.

The establishment of the company impacted all Slovakia, due to which the automotive industry became dominant, said Jozef Uhrík, who orchestrated the arrival of the German carmaker to Slovakia and stood at the helm of the Bratislava plant until 2005.

Volkswagen Slovakia is currently manufacturing nine models of five car brands, with its production volumes amounting to hundreds of thousands of vehicles a year.

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The company has invested altogether €4.6 billion into the production and infrastructure so far, with the largest investment projects being the arrival of the SUV models (production launched in 2002), investments into the new body shop for Audi and Volkswagen brands (production launched in 2015), and the construction of new body shop and assembly hall for Porsche (production launched in 2017).

Most recently, the production of the Volkswagen Passat returned to Bratislava in late 2020, and soon it will also manufacture the Škoda Superb models.

Sustainability plans

Uhrík would like the current representatives of the carmaker to continue in what they started.

“The development will be important, taking two trends into account: the question of quality and the question of production costs necessary for competitiveness and the basis for success,” Uhrík said, adding that the question is how the vehicles will be produced.

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Čaputová meanwhile appreciated the ambitious plans of the Bratislava plant regarding the environment, and hopes the company will inspire the entire sector.

“We’re glad that the president shares out sustainability goals,” said Grünberg, as quoted by TASR. “On our way towards carbon neutrality, we all should strive to improve the framework conditions in Slovakia, especially in biodiversity, charging network for e-cars, biogas and energy recovery of waste.”

The carmaker is pursuing sustainability in all sectors of its business, which is linked to its plan to achieve strategic environmental goals. It plans on becoming a carbon-neutral firm by 2050.

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