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Slovakia: Changes in Automobile Production Trend

Published: October 12, 2010; 14:30 · (Vindobona)

Manufacturers operating in Slovakia invest again. Total production in 2010 may reach over half a million vehicles. An opportunity for foreign suppliers.

Slovakia: Changes in Automobile Production Trend / Picture: © Flickr

The crisis in the car manufacturing industry hit Slovakia particularly hard. In 2008, cars accounted for more than a third of all exports from the country, while one year later, they only reached 26%. The workforce of the industry also fell by 6,000 employed to 68,000.

"Currently, everybody is very dynamic and optimistic again, but they are treading on thin ice", said the Austrian Trade Commissioner in Slovakia, Patrick Sagmeister.

Foremost, the country’s three carmakers: VW, Peugeot / Citroen (PSA) and Kia. After their total production in the previous year shrunk by almost a fifth to 463,000 cars, well over half a million vehicles are clearly to be built this year again.

"We are constantly working in two shifts and could extend to three anytime," said PSA Slovakia’s boss Luciano Biondo.

"We are thinking about a third shift", says Kia spokesman Dusan Dvořák. September has been the best month for the South Korean automaker since the establishment of the factory. To date, the factory has produced about 13,000 passenger more than in the whole year 2009 (151,000 cars). In addition, 290,000 engines are also rolling off the production line this year.  Soon there will be 100,000 more, as another production line is being built at a cost of 110 million euro.

Volkswagen is investing 310 million euro in turn.

And the Chinese automaker JAC Motors is also said to be interested in manufacturing in Slovakia.

Manufacturers and suppliers praise the flexible and skilled workforce, the central location in Europe, and also the advantageous tax system and state promotions.

Local suppliers are also already in business, led by Magna, voestalpine, Miba, Banner or Eybl. Nevertheless, there is much demand. "We need suppliers for the second and third stage," said Jozef Uhrik, President of the Slovak Car Association.

Andreas Barth, Managing Director of Fronius in Slovakia suggests that what is best is to have your own site in the country. “Local presence is important, even if Vienna is just around the corner."

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