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Slovakia in the running for fifth car manufacturer

Chinese producer of e-cars Zhi Dou is looking for a place to build a new plant

Slovakia is already home to three carmakers while the fourth one is building a new plant.(Source: TASR)

Slovakia is already host to three established carmakers with a fourth currently building a brand-new plant here. Now the Chinese producer of e-cars, Zhi Dou, is looking for a place for its new plant to supply the local market. Slovakia is on the list, the Hospodárske Noviny economic daily wrote.

Zhi Dou is part of the automotive concern Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. It plans to build a plant worth €400 million with production starting in 2020.

“The assumed capacity would be about 3,000 electric cars per month, which represents the need for a labour force of roughly 500 people,” Branislav Kocper, legal representative of Zhi Dou Slovensko told Hospodárske Noviny.

Chance for the east

“The carmaker is not very well known in Europe but their models are among the most sold electric cars world-wide,” said Martin Krištoff, analyst of Capital Markets. “Europe is a lucrative market for them.”

It is not clear yet where the plant will be located. The carmaker claims that the selection process is only in the early stages, that they are analysing possible localities and that there are several countries in the game. They are planning to manufacture the D2, a small two-seater electric car, in the plant.

“Currently we are considering Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary and Romania,” said Kocper.

The decisive factors will be locality, legislation and currency, as well as what the given country would be able to offer to the investor. The company has indicated that in terms of stimuli they are open to any opportunity.

One of possible localities for Zhi Dou is eastern Slovakia.

“Eastern Slovakia has interesting industrial parks with good infrastructure and there are several companies that might become suppliers of components and materials located there,” said Kocper.

Locating the plant in eastern Slovakia would help this region.

“The producer might get state support and it would also find enough workers here,” said Boris Tomčiak, financial analyst for Finlord, as cited by the daily.

Zhi Dou entered the Slovak market this spring when they opened two showrooms here. They opened other six later in the year.

The company was launched in 2011 and is expanding massively. Currently they have four manufacturing plants in China. They assemble cars from imported components in the Netherlands and they are building a new plant in South Korea.

Topic: Automotive

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