Skoda Auto plans more cuts this month and next as demand falls.

Spokesman Jaroslav Cerny told Agence France Presse the shut-downs would reduce Skoda’s output by another 18,000 cars in addition to 13,000 cut in September and October after the VW-owned automaker originally expected to make 759,000 cars this year, up from 661,000 in 2007.

The news agency noted that the Czech Automotive Industry Association (AIA) had said it expects local firms to increase output by 4.0-5.0% this year, down from its previous estimate of 8.0% and so short of a target of 1m cars.

It expects output to grow 1.0-2.0% in 2009, with the car and components companies, key drivers of the economy, forced to cut thousands of jobs.

An AIA spokesman last week told just-auto up to 10,000 jobs could be lost in the next year or so.

Hyundai has just opened its new Czech Republic factory making the i30 car line and gearboxes, half of which will be supplied to affiliate Kia’s plant in neighbouring Slovakia.