Bratislava, January 16 (TASR) – Slovakia’s automotive industry exceeded the one million threshold in terms of car output once again in 2017, representatives of the Slovak Automobile Industry Association (ZAP) told a news conference on Tuesday.
Over 1.025 million vehicles were manufactured at Kia Motors Slovakia, PSA Group Slovakia and Volkswagen Slovakia plants last year. In comparison, Slovakia’s car output in 2016 reached 1.04 million.
Car production made up some 44 percent of the country’s industrial output and 35 percent of its exports. Slovakia is the global leader in terms of the number of vehicles produced per capita at 189 vehicles per 1,000 people.
“However, this year will be critical in terms of the sustainability and competitiveness of our economy’s key sector. If we fail to remove chief barriers in the automotive industry, it won’t be possible to sustain these results for a long time, and this sector’s productivity will take a downward trend,” said ZAP President Juraj Sinay.
“We view 2018 as a critical year because we’ve identified exactly that the parameters defining Slovakia’s competitiveness for investors within the automotive industry are starting to near their limits. It is a lack of qualified labour, and it is sometimes possible to make reasonable efforts for increasing wage costs. However, when considering the fact that foreign parent companies have their subsidiaries here, the added value is definitely also in high wage costs. These two parameters are starting to be counterproductive in connection with making decisions on new investments,” underlined Sinay.
ZAP sees the automotive industry’s key problems to be the acute lack of qualified labour and the malfunctioning education system that fails to prepare young people based on the needs of the labour market. Therefore, ZAP has processed documentation for launching a project involving the requalification of 5,000 labourers for the automotive market annually for the upcoming four years. Meanwhile, it has actively participated in implementing the dual education system through the Government Council for Vocational Training.
In 2018, ZAP intends to participate in implementing the project of targeted requalification based on the needs of the labour market and industry. It wants to be actively engaged in revitalising the national dual education project and to implement its strategy in transforming university education.
Its further priorities for this year include efforts to create an environment for the industry’s efficient functioning in Slovakia, create conditions for a wide cooperation and dialogue between automotive companies and research and development workplaces and initiate a dialogue on the extent and forms of stimulating the development of mobility based on alternative fuels and respective infrastructure.
ZAP was established in June 1993. It is a voluntary association of corporate entities, currently representing the interests of 187 entities. It is a member of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).