Skoda Auto, the Czech unit of Volkswagen AG , reports that its unit sales growth worldwide slowed to 6.2 percent last year in a market slowdown, according to the Prague Business Journal.

Skoda Auto, the largest Czech exporter, said its share of key markets abroad continued to grow, even while sales growth slowed from 13.5 percent in the first nine months of the year and from 13 percent in 2000.

Full-year sales reached 462,321 cars. The figures were in line with the firm´s earlier forecast for single-digit growth for the year.

"Despite a recession on the world´s major markets, Skoda Auto raised sales by 6.2 percent year-on-year, by nearly 27,000 cars, and strengthened its position thanks to rising market share in key regions," the company said in a statement.

The company said that 82 percent of its production was shipped to customers abroad. Skoda said sales in western Europe rose 7.4 percent to 246,048 cars as its market share rose on five major markets there.

Skoda has had to endure a double whammy in the past year as the Czech crown rose against the euro, making exports more expensive while lowering the prices of imports to the Czech Republic.

The company cut production briefly at the end of the last year to respond to the slowdown in sales growth. The company also said that it would reduce its staff to face the cost pressures stemming mostly from a sharp strengthening in the country's currency.