PRAGUE, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Production at TPCA, the Czech car assembly plant jointly owned by Toyota Motor Corp and PSA Peugeot Citroen, is likely to drop to around 200,000 vehicles this year from 215,000 in 2012, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.
While the Czech Republic’s other two car plants have been increasing output or running at full capacity in recent months, TPCA, with its portfolio of small cars, is suffering more from poor European sales.
“Currently we are expecting (production) at up to 200,000 this year,” TPCA spokesman Radek Knava said.
“The drop in the European market is similar and the situation for the small car segment is that volumes are decreasing.”
Some Western European car markets are seeing their weakest year in two decades.
TPCA, which makes the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 cars, has seen production decline since reaching a record 332,489 vehicles in 2009.
Knava said 2013 could be the bottom of the cycle, and that output was likely to be steady or slightly higher next year.
Overall, Czech automobile production, including buses and trucks, is set to fall 4-5 percent this year, CTK news agency reported on Wednesday, citing an industry association official. The drop is mainly due to lost capacity in truck production.
Volkswagen’s Czech unit Skoda Auto boosted car sales by 3.3 percent to 86,600 vehicles in September, with the launch of new models helping to arrest a decline seen since the start of the year.
The third Czech car plant, belonging to South Korea’s Hyundai Motor, is expected to produce 300,000 cars in 2013, keeping production at full capacity in the coming years. It has kept output up by diverting exports to markets outside of Europe.
The Czech economy is highly reliant on exports, mainly cars, and is just now exiting a record six-quarter recession. (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Kevin Liffey)