Slovakia's 2015 auto production tops one million

BRATISLAVA, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Slovak car production exceeded 1 million vehicles for the first time in 2015, the country’s industry association said on Monday.

Slovakia, with a population of just 5.4 million, is the world’s top automaker per capita thanks to plants run by Volkswagen, Kia Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Production rose from 971,000 cars in 2014 although the exact figure for 2015 will not be known until Volkswagen’s Slovak plant reports final numbers in March, the Slovak Car Industry Association said.

The industry body said the rise to over one million cars could be maintained.

“We expect this year’s output to keep up with last year’s level, possibly going slightly higher,” association president Juraj Sinay said.

Analysts expect the Slovak economy, which relies heavily on auto production, to have grown by more than 3 percent in 2015.

While most of Slovakia’s car output is exported, domestic demand is also growing, with new car registrations up 7.9 percent to 77,948 vehicles last year, the association said.

Jaguar Land Rover aims to open a plant in Slovakia in 2018. (Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; writing by Jason Hovet; editing by Jason Neely)