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BUSINESS IN SHORT

Slovakia tops world car production charts

THE GATHERING pace of car production at Kia's factory near Žilina and the PSA Citroen plant in Trnava has contributed to a doubling in the number of cars made in Slovakia. Almost 600,000 were produced here last year, making Slovakia the world's largest per capita car manufacturer, producing 105 cars per 1,000 citizens, the Sme daily reported.

THE GATHERING pace of car production at Kia's factory near Žilina and the PSA Citroen plant in Trnava has contributed to a doubling in the number of cars made in Slovakia. Almost 600,000 were produced here last year, making Slovakia the world's largest per capita car manufacturer, producing 105 cars per 1,000 citizens, the Sme daily reported.

The car makers plan to further boost production, but will need more staff. The automotive industry plans to hire an additional 30,000 people by 2010. At present the sector employs about 70,000 people. The plants plan to attract new workers by offering higher wages.

Already the average wage at Volkswagen's plant in Bratislava is Sk34,000. At Trnava-based PSA Citroen, assembly-line workers earn at least Sk17,000. With bonuses, monthly income is close to Sk20,000. The average wage in Kia grew by 7 percent last year and the company expects to offer a similar rise again this year.

"Wages will grow even faster than they have so far," predicts Jozef Uhrík, the president of the Automotive Industry Association.

Together, the three car makers in Slovakia plan to manufacture 640,000 cars in 2009. As well as offering more money to workers in order to fill vacancies, it has been suggested that migration legislation could be relaxed to allow workers to be brought in from not only Romania and Bulgaria, but also, for example, from Vietnam.

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