Jaguar Factory to Push Slovak Growth to Fastest in Decade

  • Ministry sees economy expanding 4.1% in 2018, 4.6% in 2019
  • Jaguar, VW to add 1.1 percentage points to growth in 2019

Slovak economic growth is set to accelerate to 4.6 percent in 2019, the fastest pace this decade, driven by output of a planned Jaguar Land Rover factory and expanded production at other carmakers operating in the east euro-area country, the Finance Ministry estimated.

Growth, projected at 3.2 percent this year, will probably reach 4.1 percent in 2018, when the first cars are expected to roll out of a 1 billion-pound ($1.5 billion) factory that the U.K. luxury-car unit of Tata Motors Ltd. is building in Slovakia, according to the Finance Ministry’s economic forecast released Thursday. The planned increase in output at existing carmaking facilities in Slovakia, such as Volkswagen AG’s factory, will also support growth by boosting exports.

Slovakia has become an automotive hub in central Europe, hosting assembly plants by Volkswagen AG, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Kia Motors Corp. as well as parts suppliers such as Continental AG and Johnson Controls Inc. Auto manufacturing was the main driver of economic growth last decade in the former communist country of 5.4 million people, and it currently represents about a quarter of Slovakia’s exports, according to the Slovak Car Industry Association. In 2019, the investment by Jaguar and Volkswagen will add 1.1 percentage point to growth.

The ministry raised its estimate for 2015 growth to 3.6 percent from 3.2 percent projected in September, saying a rush to spend European Union funds combined with revived household demand supported the expansion. The economy is set to advance 3.6 percent in 2017, matching the previous projection.

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