PRAGUE, July 16 (Reuters) - Car production in the Czech Republic rose in the first six months of the year, but at a slower pace than in 2011 as demand for cars in Europe fell, the Association of Automotive Industry said on Monday.
Production of cars and light utility vehicles rose by 4.8 percent year on year to 662,529 in the first half, the association said, after rising by 11.4 percent for the whole of 2011.
The association did not provide a comparable rate of growth for the first half of 2011, though web site auto.cz said output rose 13.6 percent year on year in the first half of 2011 to 632,245.
"The development on European markets where a majority of vehicles produced in the Czech Republic is intended, is not favourable," the association's chief Martin Jahn said.
But despite the slowdown, the first six months of the year marked the highest first-half production on records, he said. "What matters is that, unlike in many other countries, there is not a drop in production," Jahn added.
Cars and car parts are the main Czech exports and their production makes up around a fifth of industrial output. A rise in manufacturing has been mitigating an economic recession which started in the fourth quarter last year as government austerity measures hit demand.
The association also said Volkswagen's Czech unit Skoda Auto produced 56.8 percent of all vehicles in the period, followed by Hyundai Motor Co's Czech unit which produced 24.7 percent.
TPCA, the Czech car assembly plant jointly owned by Toyota Motor Corp and PSA Peugeot Citroen, made 18.5 percent of all vehicles. (Reporting by Jana Mlcochova)