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April 20, 2005

SLOVAKIA: Car makers want more local parts producers

Car makers in Slovakia should join forces to cut costs by persuading parts suppliers to move from western Europe and open up Slovak plants, they told the Associated Press (AP) on Tuesday.

Car makers in Slovakia should join forces to cut costs by persuading parts suppliers to move from western Europe and open up Slovak plants, they told the Associated Press (AP) on Tuesday.

“If the Slovak car industry would speak with one voice, it would speak for 800,000 to one million cars,” Wolfgang Rohroff of Volkswagen Slovakia told AP on the sidelines of the AUTOCEE Slovakia 2005 conference.

“We have to find Slovak sources,” Tobias Hagenmeyer, the CEO of Getrag Ford Transmissions reportedly said. “We’re not looking for a supplier who has headquarters in western European, produces here and charges western European price.” Getrag Ford Transmissions is a joint venture between Ford and Germany’s Getrag Group, which is building a parts plant in eastern Slovakia.

The Associated Press noted that Volkswagen has been producing cars in Slovakia since the early 1990s while PSA Peugeot Citroen and Kia Motors are building car production plants there. As of 2008, their combined annual car production in Slovakia will be around 800,000 units, the report said.

Rohroff, purchasing director at the local Volkswagen plant, told AP the three car makers in Slovakia should combine forces, arguing this would strengthen their chances in attracting new suppliers who could be lured by the larger possible production volume.

Rohroff reportedly said they buy locally products worth about €1.4 billion ($US1.8 billion) a year, adding there was room to double the amount if other good quality and well priced suppliers would be nearby instead of in western European countries, which are further away.

“We still have to import too many … simple items,” he said, according to AP.

He told the Associated Press car makers were a bit hesitant to work together in this area, but added they were planning a meeting with Kia’s management next month to talk about joint possibilities.

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