Volkswagen is expected to decide towards the end of the year whether to produce additional models in Bratislava. This is later than had been originally expected.

According to Reuters, VW Slovakia’s new chairman, Andreas Tostmann, said Europe’s top carmaker would keep output stable at the plant until new models are introduced in 2010. He said that, because the new models are not expected until then, the company is at an early stage of discussions – implying that there is no need to rush a decision.

Reuters noted that the Volkswagen plant is Slovakia’s biggest company by sales and its top exporter, with a 15% share of shipments. Its output swings can influence the entire economy, and its results and plans are closely watched by financial markets. Tostmann told journalists the group was now deciding where to produce the next generation of models.

Bratislava plant builds the Audi Q7, VW Touareg and VW Polo and makes Cayenne bodies for Porsche. SUVs accounted for 68% of output last year, and this is expected to rise to around 80% this year. “Output will be around 220,000-230,000 (cars a year), probably a little bit more in 2010,” Tostmann said.
The plant made 238,657 vehicles in 2006, up from 218,349 in 2005. Capacity is 280,000 a year.