Slovakia, World's Leading Per-Capita Car Maker, Back in Top Gear

By 2013 overall car production is estimated to reach between 800,000 and 900,000 units.

Slovakia has recovered from the global downturn and its auto sector is shifting back into top gear, the country's auto industry said on June 15.

"The Slovak car industry has started breathing again after facing problems for the past two years," said Automotive Industry Association head Jozef Uhrik. The country is the world's leading per-capita car manufacturer.

The association expects Slovakia to produce at least 630,000 cars this year after manufacturing almost 572,000 units last year.

Slovakia's auto industry -- including car plants run by Volkswagen, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Kia Motors as well as hundreds of suppliers -- slumped in 2009 when only 463,000 cars were made due to low demand amid global downturn.

The association also expects the number of people working in the car industry to grow from last year's almost 70,000 in the nation of 5.4 million.

"The conservative forecast is 75,000 people working both at car plants and suppliers," Uhrik added.

Volkswagen expects to launch a line producing small family cars later this year, while PSA Peugeot Citroen and Kia Motors will launch new models next year.

"At the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013, Slovakia's overall car production may reach between 800,000 and 900,000 units," Uhrik said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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