The Slovak car assembling plant of South Koreaн car maker Kia Motors made 158,900 cars in the first half of 2013, up 6% y/y, TASR news agency reported.
The plant near Zilina, northern Slovakia, ran at full capacity for first time in its seven-year history in the first half of the year and the company’s CEO Eek-Hee Lee expects it to continue to run at full capacity thanks to the new models that were put into production this year. The plant's annual production capacity is 300,000 vehicles.
Kia Motors Slovakia manufactured a record high of 292,000 cars last year and has previously projected to make 290,000 cars this year. The Slovak plant is the only European production facility of the South Korean car maker.
Kia Motors Slovakia makes versions of the cee'd small family car, Kia Sportage SUV (sport utility vehicle), and Kia Venga mini car designed for markets in Europe and Russia. The company's main market in H1 2013 remained Russia with a 24% share of total sales, followed by the UK with 14%, Germany with 9%, and France and Italy with 5% each. About 1% of the produced cars were sold in Slovakia.
The best selling model was Kia Sportage, accounting for 48% of total sales, followed by the cee'd models with a 42% share and Kia Venga with 10%.
Kia Motors Slovakia produced 253,200 engines in H1 2013, up 6.7% y/y. It has projected to boost its full-year output by about 6% to 490,000 engines this year.
Kia, together with Germany's Volkswagen and France's PSA Peugeot Citroen, is among the key drivers of Slovakia's economy, which is powered mainly by exports of cars and electronics. European car sales slumped to their lowest six-month total in 20 years in H1 2013, suggesting hard times for auto makers and supporting expectations for a significant slowdown of the Slovak economic growth.
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