BRATISLAVA -- South Korean carmaker Kia Motors could raise the output target at its new Slovak plant to 300,000 units a year as it expects improved European market conditions, a Slovak ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
Kia is now building a complex of a car assembly plant and a car parts factory for Hyundai Mobis in northern Slovakia, with an original total investment of 1 billion euros.
The company initially planned to start producing 200,000 cars a year in Slovakia from late 2006 or early 2007, but it had said the output capacity was likely to rise.
Maros Havran, a spokesman for the Economy Ministry, told Reuters that Kia Motors now planned to raise its own investment to 960 million euros, from originally expected 825 million.
"Kia says it is satisfied with the government's approach to the investment, and with favorable economic conditions," Havran said.
He added Kia wanted to change the output of the Slovak plant to three types of medium-sized cars, from an initial two, and also add two SUV models.
"The new plans reflect expected trends on the European car market in the future," Havran cited Kia officials as saying.
The Kia plant is Slovakia' largest green-field investment ever and it will boost its booming car industry that has attracted a number of firms with low taxes, cheap workforce and proximity to western and eastern European markets.
The automotive sector, which has become the main pillar of the new EU member's economy, now centers around the plant of Germany's Volkswagen.
It will be joined by a 700,000-million-euro factory in which French PSA Peugeot Citroen plans to start making 300,000 cars a year from 2006.
The three producers are expected to make Slovakia the world top car maker per capita with production of more than 800,000 units annually.