BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- GETRAG Ford Transmissions plans to build a roughly $400 million car parts plant in eastern Slovakia, the joint venture of Ford Motor Co. and German parts supplier GETRAG said on Thursday.
Economy Minister Pavol Rusko told reporters the plant should produce 300,000 gear boxes per year, and the company added it would have annual turnover of 300 to 400 million euros and export all of its production. The 50-50 joint venture said it hoped to complete negotiations on the plan with the central European country's government soon.
"We very much hope we will be able to ... reach a final agreement shortly," Getrag Ford President Tobias Hagenmeyer told a news conference.
A spokesman for government investment agency SARIO said the factory should open in 2007.
New EU member Slovakia has become a manufacturing center for Europe's automotive industry in the past few years, luring carmakers and their suppliers with its proximity to European markets, cheap labor force and low taxes.
The investment influx has boosted economic growth and propelled the Slovak crown to record highs against the euro, sparking interest rate cuts and foreign exchange interventions by the central bank this year.