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Slovak 2013 Car Output Seen Unchanged at Above 900,000 Vehicles

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Carmakers in Slovakia will probably maintain output in 2013 at last year’s level of more than 900,000 vehicles, driven by “attractive” models and emerging-market demand, the country’s Car Industry Association said.

The combined output of the local units of Volkswagen AG, Kia Motors Corp. and PSA Peugeot Citroen surged about 41 percent last year, Jaroslav Holecek, the association’s president, said at a press conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, today without disclosing data for individual companies. In 2011, the three companies assembled 639,763 vehicles.

Slovakia, which adopted the euro in 2009, is relying on carmakers to drive economic growth at a time when the region’s sovereign-debt crisis and government austerity measures are hurting demand. Car production jumped 48 percent in the first 11 months of 2012 compared with the same period the previous year. Slovak 11-month industrial output increased 11.5 percent.

“We have a very attractive product mix, ranging from small cars to sport-utility vehicles,” Holecek said. “Moreover, carmakers here produce for a global rather then regional market and demand from countries such as Russia or China is helping to offset western Europe’s weakness.”

Volkswagen in late 2011 started to assemble the so-called New Small Family subcompact models in Bratislava, adding to SUVs already produced in the east European country. The company planned to make a record 400,000 cars in Slovakia in 2012.

Kia, which makes Sportage SUVs as well as the cee’d and Venga models in Zilina, northern Slovakia, said yesterday it produced a record 292,000 vehicles in 2012. This year, it plans to assemble 290,000 cars.

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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