The Slovak unit of Kia Motors Corp. (000270) assembled a record 149,000 cars in the first half of the year, boosted by rising demand for sport-utility vehicles produced by the South Korean carmaker.
Production of cars rose 11 percent from 134,000 units shipped in the same period last year, Dusan Dvorak, the spokesman for the Slovak factory, said in an e-mailed statement today from Zilina, Slovakia. The company also produced 237,000 engines, representing a 22 percent increase from the first half of 2011.
Demand for SUVs help Kia and its affiliate Hyundai Motors Co. weather the economic slowdown in western Europe, where sales of all new cars dropped 8.4 percent in May from the previous year. Kia’s total European sales rose 29.8 percent from a year earlier in May.
Kia-brand Sportage SUVs accounted for almost half of cars produced in the east European country. The carmaker, which also makes the Venga subcompact and cee’d compact models in Zilina, said it maintained its forecast to produce 285,000 vehicles at the plant this year.
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