Kia Motors Corporation announced that output at its plant in Slovakia has already surpassed last year’s total thanks to European demand for its compact cars and SUVs.
From the beginning of the year, Kia made more thant 253,000 vehicles at the Zilina plant, more than last year’s total production of 252,252 units. The plant’s October output rose 35 percent to 30,000 vehicles, marking the biggest monthly production on record.
Kia’s results are in stark contrast with the rest of the European car industry, which has lost thousands of jobs because of the economic downturn. Ford, for instance, plans to close a Belgian plant with more than 4,000 workers and shift production to Spain.
Kia said its Slovak unit is on track to meet this year’s production target of 285,000 cars, thanks to strong demand for the Sportage SUV, the cee’d compact and the subcompact Venga MPV.
Kia started production in Slovakia in December 2006. The South Korean carmaker is among Slovakia’s biggest exporters, along with Volkswagen and PSA Peugeot Citroen. 98 percent of Kia’s Slovak output is exported, mainly to Russia, UK and Germany.
Kia, which employs 3,900 people in Slovakia, earlier this year added a third shift at its Zilina plant.