Czech carmaker Skoda reports record sales in 2006, plan to produce 580,000 cars this year

Czech car maker Skoda Auto said Tuesday its 2006 sales rose by 11.7 percent, boosted by growth in sales in Europe and Asia.

Skoda sold a record of 549,667 cars in more than 90 countries worldwide last year, compared to 492,111 the previous year, the manufacturer said in a statement.

"We are planning to produce 580,000 vehicles and launch a license production of Skoda vehicles in China," board chairman Detlef Wittig said.

In 2006, Skoda produced a total of 556,443 cars, the statement said.

Skoda's sales in Western Europe were up by 9 percent, reaching 301,343 cars, with Germany being the most important market. The sales went up also in Eastern Europe by 14 percent, and 21 percent in Asia, Skoda said.

Skoda Auto, a unit of German manufacturer Volkswagen AG, is the country's largest and most profitable exporter, reports AP.

Skoda said it sold 270,274 of its Octavia models, 243,982 of Fabia cars and 20,989 of Superb. It also sold 14,422 cars of its new model, Roomster.

"The company has reinforced its position as a major player in European markets and managed to take advantage of the increasing growth potential in Asia," Wittig said.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team