Kia Motors expects Slovak production to rise 13 percent image

Kia Motors, South Korea’s second-largest automobile manufacturer said Tuesday it expects car output at its Slovak unit to rise 13 percent this year driven by Russian, British and German demand.

The Slovak unit wants to produce more than 285,000 vehicles in 2012, the company based in Zilina, Northern Slovakia, said in an e-mailed statement today. Last year it assembled a record 252,000 cars, a 10 percent increase from 2010.

The carmaker produces two SUV models in Slovakia, the new generation of the Kia Sportage and Hyundai ix35, a compact model Kia Cee’d and small size compact model Kia Venga.

Kia launched mass production in Slovakia at the 1.1 billion-euro ($1.5 billion) plant in 2006 and employs more than 3,900 workers.

The announcement comes shortly after Volkswagen Slovakia said the company has exported 210,441 vehicles last year, up from 144,510 in 2010.

Volkswagen, which plans to invest an additional 1.5 billion euros in the central European country by 2016, said on Tuesday SUV models had a 93 percent share of overall production. Germany is the biggest export market with a 41.9 percent share.