Business Korea — 2022-10-31
Hyundai Motor Group has selected Slovakia as a bridgehead for its foray into the European electric vehicle (EV) market. Kia Corp.'s Slovakia plant will mass-produce pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for Europe beginning from 2025.
Kia is planning to produce small and medium-sized EVs specialized for the European market at its plant (Kia Autoland Slovakia) located in Zilina, Slovakia, Hyundai Motor Group said on 30 October.
The group is already mass-producing the Hyundai IONIQ 5 in Indonesia, and announced a plan to mass-produce EVs in the United States. But it has not laid out a specific plan for expanding local production in Europe. Currently, in Europe, there are constant voices calling for legislation to give preference to EVs produced in the region, such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of the United States.
Kia Autoland Slovakia is one of Hyundai Motor Group's core plants. It started operating in December 2006, two years earlier than Hyundai Motor Co.'s plant in the Czech Republic, and crossed four million units in cumulative production in May 2021.
Built on an area of about 1.92m square meters, the plant has an annual production capacity of 330,000 units and produces the Ceed, a strategic vehicle tailored to the local market, and the Ceed-based crossover utility (CUV) model Exceed and Sportage. It started to roll out the new Sportage Hybrid from November 2021 and the Sportage PHEV from February 2022.
Electrified vehicles (hybrids, PHEVs and BEVs) are already gaining immense popularity in Europe. In 2021, Kia sold 116,278 electrified models in the European market alone and the proportion of electrified models in total sales in the European market exceeded 20% for the first time.
In the January-September period 2022, it posted 103,718 units in sales, an increase of 28% compared to the same period of 2021, thanks to the popularity of the EV6 and Sportage PHEV. Hyundai and Kia plan to sell 100% electrified models in Europe after 2035.
Slovakia has emerged as a battleground for EV makers from around the world. According to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), automobiles accounted for 50% of Slovakia's industrial production last year, and the automobile industry took up 13% of Slovakia's GDP.
Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche), Land Rover, and Stellantis (Peugeot) are rolling out electrified models at their factories in Slovakia.
Hyundai Motor Group has also started preparing for mass production of EVs at Hyundai Motor Co.'s Czech plant.