BRATISLAVA, July 2 (Reuters) - The Slovak unit of German automaker Volkswagen kept a bullish outlook for this and the coming year, expecting production close to full capacity of 400,000 cars, mainly thanks to strong demand for its sport utility vehicles (SUV).
Volkswagen, which had said it would invest about 1.5 billion euros ($1.90 billion) in the euro zone's second poorest country in the coming five years, added new small-size model 'Up!' to its Slovak portfolio last year, which helped to boost output.
"We will have this year's production at levels that we have already outlined and forecasts for 2013 suggest similar levels," Volkswagen Slovakia Chief Executive Albrecht Reimold told reporters after a groundbreaking ceremony of a new bodyshop.
Volkswagen Slovakia, one of the central European country's key exporters, manufactured 210,441 vehicles last year, up from 144,510 in 2010 rallying on strong demand for its SUV models in Germany and emerging markets.
The plant near the capital Bratislava produces SUV models including the new generation of Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, and parts of the Porsche Cayenne. ($1 = 0.7880 euros) (Reporting by Martin Santa; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)