Kia Motors expects its manufacturing plant in Zilina, Slovakia to post a record production of around 285,000 vehicles in full year 2012. This came as Kia Slovakia logged a 10 percent jump in production to 149,000 cars in the first six months of 2012, mainly thanks to strong demand for Kia vehicles in the period. Kia’s first half feat is in contrast to the results of some carmakers in Western Europe, which are suffering from dwindling production and sales. According to Eek-Hee Lee, chief executive of Kia Slovakia, the plant’s rising output is due to the strong European and Russian demand for the Sportage medium sports utility vehicle, the Venga small minivan and the Cee'd compact.
Around 20 percent of the plant’s production is exported to Russia, 12 percent to the United Kingdom and 11 percent to France. In June 2012, Kia posted a 19 percent increase in sales in Russia to 17,307 units, making the South Korean company the fourth best-selling automaker in the country, according to the Association for European Businesses (AEB). Kia logged a 10 percent hike in production in 2011 to 252,000 vehicles, allowing it to surpass its pre-crisis record of 201,000 cars in 2008. The Slovak auto industry, which includes assembly plants for Volkswagen and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen as well as suppliers, accounts for around 13 percent of the country’s GDP.
Kia’s Zilina plant accounts for over 10 percent of the carmaker’s global output. Kia is planning to adjust its Slovak production lines to accommodate a new model during a scheduled summer break for two weeks, set at the end of July and beginning of August. According to data from the auto industry group ACEA, Kia posted a 24.6 percent rise in vehicle sales in the EU and EFTA countries to 139,576 in contrast to collective sales in the region diving 7.3 percent in the same period.