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UK automotive companies to drive world's largest producer

A senior figure in Slovakia's burgeoning automotive industry today called on Welsh and UK manufacturers and suppliers to help her country realise its ambition of becoming the world's largest producer of cars per capita by 2008, in a call to arms at AutoLink Wales 2004, the UK's first international automotive collaboration event.

Maria Novakova, director of secretariat at the Automotive Industry Association of the Slovak Republic told more than 100 delegates at Cardiff's International Arena that the business environment in Slovakia is founded on favourable taxation, interest and salary rates.

"Coupled with our central European location, this has proved attractive to some of the world's leading automotive companies such as Volkswagen, Skoda and Hyundai and resulted in the establishment of production plants all across the Republic," she said.

"Based on the remarkable growth we have seen in the industry since the country¹s inception in 1993, in four years time we fully expect to be the global leader in automotive production, assembling over three million cars per annum.

To meet such demand, there is a need to source suppliers from new areas and entering into a collaborative agreement with the UK sector and making use of its wealth of knowledge, skills and expertise, can help this goal be achieved. The growth and prosperity of the automotive industry in both countries can be ensured and the satisfaction of the customer guaranteed."

As well as taking advantage of AutoLink's unique concept in which businesses met face-to-face to discuss common ground, Novakova used the event to formally invite Welsh and UK companies to participate in the Car Supplier Industry of Slovakia conference in May 2005 where global manufacturers such as Peugeot, Citroen and Kia will look to meet new suppliers.

Tim Williams, Chief Executive of the Welsh Automotive Forum, said: "This invitation is the fruition of lengthy discussions with our Slovakian Counterparts.

The Welsh Automotive Forum, in conjunction with Wales Trade International, will lead a delegation of Welsh companies to next year¹s conference, providing an opportunity for indigenous Welsh businesses and their existing collaborative partners across the UK to tap into the fastest growing market in the world.

"Through working together, Welsh and UK automotive companies are able to gain access to new, exciting markets, strengthening the sector in this country. This scenario is the perfect manifestation of the message behind AutoLink Wales 2004."

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