The Slovenian automotive sector is determined to prove it is more than just Renault, although it is also proud it will be the sole production site for the second-generation Twingo minicar.
"We do not believe that we are isolated because we have been part of the European automotive industry for a long time," says Dusan Busen, managing director of the Automotive Cluster of Slovenia, a business association for component makers with operations in the country. "More than 80 percent of supplier output goes abroad - not just to the Renault factory in Novo Mesto."
Busen says most of those parts go to Germany and France (see box).
In addition to local operations for global Tier 1 suppliers such as Faurecia and Johnson Controls, Slovenia has its own domestic supplier sector.
Major Slovenian suppliers include:
Despite this local pride, the coming big event in Slovenia is clearly the launch of Renault's X44 project - also known as the second-generation Twingo - at the end of 2006.
Renault has invested E400 million in this project. Expected volume for the next Twingo is 200,000 to 250,000 units a year. This is a substantial jump from the 131,646 Clio small cars produced in Novo Mesto last year.
Because Slovenian labor costs are among the highest in the new accession countries - between E800-E1,000 a month - Busen believes Slovenians have two ways to compete in the long run.
One is to promote innovative products and services through the Polycentric Technology Centre. This is jointly funded through the Slovenian government and the European Development Regional Fund.
The second is to manage labor costs by strengthening ties to Tier 2 suppliers located in central and southeastern Europe.