BRATISLAVA, Nov 8 (Reuters) - South Korean carmaker Kia Motors Corp said output in Slovakia had surpassed 253,000 vehicles already this year, outstripping last year’s total thanks to European demand for its compact cars and SUVs.
The company, which made 252,252 cars in 2011 at its plant located in the northern Slovak town of Zilina, said on Thursday October output jumped by 35 percent on the year to 30,000 vehicles, marking the biggest monthly volume on record.
The growth is in stark contrast with the rest of the European car industry, which has shed thousands of jobs as the economic downturn erodes demand and forced measures such as Ford Motor Co’s plan to close a Belgian factory with more than 4,000 workers and shift production to Spain.
Kia’s Slovak unit said it was on track to meet this year’s production target of 285,000 cars, adding the boost had been driven by demand for its SUV Sportage, the cee’d model and small-size Venga.
Kia, which launched production in the euro zone country in December 2006, is with Germany’s Volkswagen and France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen among Slovakia’s biggest exporters.