By on November 8, 2012

Slovakia is part of the euro zone. While whole countries need to be bailed out or go bankrupt, the town of Zilina  is peaceful – and busy. At the Kia plant, more than 253,000  cee’d, Venga and Sportage models have rolled off the assembly lines, more than the plant made all last year, Reuters says.

October output alone jumped by 35 percent on the year to 30,000 vehicles, plant managers told the Reuters reporter. The company wants to build 285,000 units this year.

Reuters sees the growth “in stark contrast with the rest of the European car industry, which has shed thousands of jobs as the economic downturn erodes demand and forced measures such as Ford Motor Co’s plan to close a Belgian factory with more than 4,000 workers and shift production to Spain.”

Kia sales in the EU were up 20 percent January-September. Sales of affiliate Hyundai are up 9.3 percent while the EU new car market as a whole shrunk 7.6 percent year-to-date.  Slovakia could attract Volkswagen, Kia, and PSA. At one time, Volkswagen alone amounted to 19 percent of all of Slovakia’s exports.

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8 Comments on “Kia Performs Economic Miracle In Europe...”

  • avatar

    It’s amazing what a little design and a good price point can do for you. Kia models are generally attractive now (while Hyundai is overwrought), but others beat them in handling, ride, consumption and engine refinement. I also think people like the info systems on these cars (which I don’t care for or pay any extra to get, either). Other makers, specially the afflicted Euro ones, should watch and emulate them, like , yesterday.

  • avatar

    Kia is a miracle of good honest design and great dealer experiences.

    We had a Kia before and its typified by being very safe, reliable, bit boring but well designed but with suspect resale. This is due to the fact the Kia name isnt that great. I dont like to tell people I drive Kia.

    However the dealer experience was excellent with people who listen to your concerns and do more than is necessary to fix your problem.

    Also the buying experience is one where you get a small discount but they throw a lot of extras at you for free.

    Western and Japanese companies should do well to learn why Kia succeed where they should be failing.

    There’s no passion in me for Kia. They have no heritage, race breed or any emotional ties. However I can see why people flock to them because the product is that strong.

    Contrast that to other companies that trade long and hard on tradition but offer a relatively poor product, poor pre and post sales experience but you get the bonus of being able to say you drive that badge.

    In fact I see Kia having parallels with Jaguar in a perverse way.

    I love Jaguar, even though they are expensive, unreliable cars you wouldnt want to own outside of warranty.

    Its the yin and the yang.

    • 0 avatar

      Seriously, great dealer experiences?

      Just do a few google searches about Kia not honoring their warranty.

      • 0 avatar

        Kia sells around the world. Expectation is experience will differ.

        For my local experience, Hyundai Kia are great.

        Nissan are ok, so is Mitsubishi.

        Toyota are mediocre. Subaru are mediocre.

        The Germans aren’t that good with VW/BMW/Porsche being the worst.

        However nothing beats Ford/GM for incompetance.

        The reason is the more prestiguous or famous the brand, the less they care about the customer since they know they can loose a few and many more will be starstruck by the brand.

        Companies with solid reputation are willing to lose the occasional customer if they feel the can afford it.

        Got a lemon Toyota? Who cares.

        GM and Ford reckon they can sell on past glories.

  • avatar

    This is another example, alongside Dacia, that there’s money to be made in Europe.

  • avatar

    Slovakia builds more cars per capita than any other country in the world. Not a surprise, considering that its labor costs are a fraction of the major European car-building countries; many Slovakians speak German (VW has the largest presence in Slovakia); there is excellent transportation in and out of the country; the government provides considerable incentives.

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