Kia says to produce record 300,000 cars in Slovakia in 2013
PRAGUE Dec 18 (Reuters) - South Korean Kia Motors' will produce a record 300,000 cars at its plant in Slovakia in 2013 as the factory ran at full capacity for the first time in seven years, the carmaker said on Wednesday.
The plant in the northern part of the country is one of the euro zone member's biggest exporters. It mostly produces versions of the Cee'd small family car, the Kia Sportage SUV and Kia Venga mini car designed for European and Russian markets.
Slovakia's automotive industry - which represents a big driver for the central European country's economy - is based around assembly plants of Kia, Germany's Volkswagen, and French PSA Peugeot Citroen.
Kia, which launched its plant in Zilina in 2006, said in January it planned to produce 290,000 cars in Slovakia in 2013, just shy of its better-then-expected record 292,000 made a year earlier.
"Our production has risen continually over the past seven years," Eek-Hee Lee, president and CEO of Kia Motors Slovakia, said in a statement. "We will continue with this success in the next period."
So far this year, 22 percent of output at the assembly plant was exported to Russia, with Britain as the next biggest foreign market at 13 percent.
In July, Kia's local company chief Lee said the launch of new models had helped the carmaker weather weakening sales in Europe that had hit most other producers. (Reporting by Robert Muller,; Editing by Michael Kahn and Jane Merriman)
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