Spain car plants increased production by 9.3 pct in 2013

MADRID Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:48am EST

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MADRID Jan 23 (Reuters) - Spanish car factories increased production by 9.3 percent in 2013 to 2.16 million vehicles and output is expected to keep growing in 2014, the country's carmakers' association Anfac said on Thursday.

The industry, a key component of Spain's export drive, has benefited from new labour laws that helped attract foreign investment, a government-backed subsidy scheme in Spain and demand growth in markets such as the United States, Turkey and North Africa.

However, while car manufacturing and tourism are the main drivers of a tentative recovery from a five-year slump, the car industry's impact on job creation has remained limited.

Close to 6 million Spaniards are out of work and high unemployment - currently at 26 percent - is expected to persist for years.

Anfac said about 87 percent of the cars produced in the country were sold abroad, resulting in an automobile trade surplus of 15 billion euros ($20.4 billion) in the January-to-November period.

Spain has 17 car plants producing 39 different models for companies including Opel, a unit of General Motors ; PSA Peugeot Citroen ; Renault ; Ford ; Nissan ; and Seat, a unit of Volkswagen.

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