The three Slovak car plants—Volkswagen Bratislava, PSA Trnava and Kia Motors Žilina—assembled 1.025m cars last year, a slight decrease compared to 1.043m in 2016. The car output stayed above the 1m level for the third year running, and Slovakia kept its position of the world’s largest car maker in per capita terms. The automotive sector accounted for 44% of the total industrial output. The share will increase once Jaguar Land Rover launches production in its new plant in Nitra at the end of this year.
The sector’s key challenge this year will be the acute lack of qualified labor and an inefficient educational system. Labor shortages are the most severe in smaller automotive suppliers. Car makers demand an easing of restrictions on employing non-EU foreigners. VW already employs 500 Hungarians and PSA 800 Serbs. In the long-term, the key issue will be to persuade global car makers to place e-car production in Slovakia.