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by Matt Brogan

Kia’s European production facility has today seen its 500,000th vehicle roll off the assembly line.

The car, a white cee’d SW, marks an impressive feat for the Slovakian plant which itself has only been operational for less than two years.

The new year also saw the factory commence production of the Hyundai ix35, the third model in its production portfolio. The new Kia Sportage will also be produced here from June this year.

“I am very proud that we are achieving a high efficiency of production as well as the highest-quality cars in our factory,” said Mr In-Kyu Bae, President and CEO of Kia Motors Slovakia.

Kia donated the 500,000th vehicle to the Transplantation Centre in nearby Martin as part of its local community support activities.

“This car will be used for transfers of surgery teams and organs for transplantation in Slovakia. Thanks to this donation, we can improve and increase the safety of our work aimed at saving lives,” said Mr Viliam Grajciar, Economy Deputy of the Faculty Hospital in Martin.

Kia Motors Slovakia plans to keep employment levels at the plant at 2,800 in 2010 and increase the number of cars produced thanks to the introduction of two new models (Hyundai ix35 and Kia Sportage).

In 2009 Kia Motors Slovakia produced more than 150,000 cars. More than 38 per cent of production was of the cee’d five-door version. Last year, 21 per cent of all vehicles produced were exported to Russia, the factory’s largest single export market.

Kia Motors Slovakia also produces engines and in 2009 built more than 243,000 units – a 37 per cent increase year-on-year. Engines include the 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol units as well as the 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesel engines. The company also started production of a new 1.4-litre diesel – to be introduced in the all-new Kia Venga that goes on sale in the UK from February 1.




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