Slovenia's automotive cluster director believes the country's small size is not a hindrance to sector development as it always co-operated with larger neighbours in the past.

The alpine state – independent from the former centralising bloc of Yugoslavia for 25 years now – has emerged as an automotive component producer – along with so much of eastern Europe – but believes it has a fighting chance of securing the attention of overseas OEMs and Tier 1s looking to establish a foothold in the region.

"In Slovenia, we don't feel somehow threatened by other countries," said Automotive Cluster of Slovenia (ACS) director, Tatjana Mohoric at this week's Central and Eastern European Automotive Forum in Prague. "[Our] history used to connect [us] to Austria, Italy and Hungary; we were always part of some other country.

"It is in our culture we cooperate and connect. We are trying to find our niches where we are good and we are on the way to be excellent. We don't want to compete with everybody and everything.

"We are small – I can't deny that but in specific issues we can be number one or two in the world. We can be excellent suppliers to all car producers wherever we are."

Slovenia's automotive cluster comprises just 60 members but the huge importance of the sector to the national economy can be gauged by the fact it contributes 10% of GDP and 20% of the country's exports.

Mohoric emphasised how Slovenia was evaluating the link between future mobility and energy needs provided by electric vehicles, for example, and that the country was ripe for such development.

"We are aware of the trends in mobility," she added. "We have our own electric buses [and] infrastructure is as important as cars. We have different modes of mobility such as bikes made from wood.

"Small is beautiful. We are the right size society for large demonstration projects – we are really open for partnerships and, of course, for new ideas."