Home market sales of Czech Republic car maker and Volkswagen unit Skoda Auto fell 7% year on year to 36,640 units in the first half of 2003, from 39,401 units, Dow Jones reported, citing an industry association.

Skoda Auto retained its top position in the new car market despite a drop in market share to 47.7% in the first quarter from 51.7% a year earlier, the report said.

Total domestic sales of passenger cars by all manufacturers rose 0.9% on the year to 76,821 units in the first six months, from 76,161, Dow Jones said, citing a Car Importers’ Association (SDA) statement.

Renault retained its No. 2 position, despite a 13% decline in its Czech sales year-on-year to 4,579 units in the first half, from 5,265. Peugeot sales declined 0.5% to 4,400 units in the first six months of the year, from 4,421, the report said.

According to Dow Jones, sales of Peugeot-owned Citroen rose 14.5% on the year to 2,676 in the first half, from 2,336 while Volkswagen increased its first-half sales 9.3% year on year to 4,213 units, from 3,855.

General Motors’ Opel brand increased Czech sales 17% year on year to 3,546 units in the first half, from 3,082, Dow Jones added.