The production of passenger cars in the Czech Republic increased by 1.7 percent last year to a new record of 1.437 million vehicles, the Automotive Industry Association said Thursday. Production has now grown for a fifth straight year. Exports of passenger cars rose 2 percent year on year while domestic purchases dropped 1.7 percent in 2018. Leading carmaker and exporter Škoda Auto increased its production to 886,103 cars, up 3.3 percent in annual terms. The Volkswagen subsidiary said growth was due to the modernisation and expansion of its Czech manufacturing plants. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing, on the other hand, recorded a 4.6 percent drop in production to 340,300 cars. TPCA, a joint venture of Toyota, Peugeot and Citroën, returned to production growth with a 6 percent increase to 210,993 vehicles.