Are the records of Slovak car industry getting a bitter undertone?

Automotive industry calls for measures to keep it internationally competitive.

Groupe PSA Slovakia plant in Trnava.Groupe PSA Slovakia plant in Trnava. (Source: SME)

“The roof should be repaired in good weather, not during bad and we see that it is getting cloudy,” said Alexander Matušek, president of the Slovak Automotive Industry Association (ZAP), when introducing the results of the strongest pillar of the country’s economy for 2019. While four carmakers in Slovakia again beat the country’s record in car production, representatives of the automotive industry warned against the loss of its competitiveness.

Related articleSlovakia is not just a car assembly hall anymore Read more 

In 2019, more than 1.1 million vehicles rolled off the production lines, beating the country’s record by about 7,000 vehicles. Thus, the country has remained at the top of the world ranking in the number of cars produced per 1,000 inhabitants. In 2019, it kept its primacy by 202 vehicles. Next year ZAP estimates that 1.15 million vehicles will be produced in Slovakia.

Not everyone revealed the numbers

Out of four carmakers active in Slovakia, only two revealed their car production of the previous year. Both exceeded their records so far.

Related articleThese 8 graphs explain why Slovakia is a car nation Read more 

The Trnava-based Groupe PSA Slovakia manufactured 371,152 vehicles last year, an increase of 5.4 percent y/y. Kia Motors Slovakia near Žilina produced 344,000 cars last year, which is an annual increase of about 4 percent.

Bratislava-based Volkswagen Slovakia and Jaguar Land Rover’s plant in Nitra did not specify the number of cars they produced last year. While Volkswagen will publish the car production data later, JLR does not reveal the number of cars it produced in its individual plants.

Call for measures

Related articleSlovakia beats record in car production, again Read more 

Despite these positive figures, ZAP is calling on the Slovak government to take measures to ensure the car producers are competitive enough to win the production of new models within their groups.

“We have lost competitiveness within the Visegrad Four and we are losing it also towards southern European countries,” said Matušek, adding that Slovak car plants can win the production of new models only when this pays off for their parent companies.

The wage costs of production operators in Portugal are already lower than those of their Slovak peers, representatives of the industry specified. The average wage of workers at Volkswagen Slovakia, excluding top management, was €1,954 already in 2018.

This loss of competition has already reflected in the network of sub-suppliers, when new investments ended beyond Slovakia’s borders, said Matušek.

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