Kia Plans to Assemble Record 285,000 Vehicles in Slovakia

Kia Motors Corp. (000270) plans to increase car output at its Slovak unit 13 percent next year, benefiting from rising demand for sport-utility vehicles.

The South Korean carmaker’s Slovak unit wants to produce more than 285,000 vehicles this year, 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.

SUVs represented more than half of Kia’s Slovak output last year as the company and its affiliate Hyundai Motors Co. (005380) are tapping rising demand for such models to gain market share in Europe. The carmaker produces Kia Sportage and until June also assembled the Hyundai-brand ix35 in Zilina.

Additional models made at the 1.1 billion-euro ($1.5 billion) plant, which became operational in 2006, are Kia’s cee’d and Venga cars. Last year, it also boosted production of engines 12 percent to 359,000 units.

To contact the reporter on this story: Radoslav Tomek in Bratislava at rtomek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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