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Ford mulls building car plant in Slovakia, newspaper says

From Automotive News | June 21,2007

Ford is considering building an assembly plant in eastern Slovakia, the financial newspaper Hospodarske Noviny said today.

The plant would be located near Kechnec, where a Ford-Getrag joint venture already makes dual-clutch transmissions.

"We are negotiating with a renowned producer, which is planning to make higher class cars in the East," the newspaper quoted Kechnec Mayor Jozef Konkoly as saying. "It would an investment worth tens of billions of crowns, and creating hundreds of jobs."

Unnamed sources identified the investor as Ford.

Talks on a new plant in Slovakia would give Ford an option if it is unsuccessful in its bid for the former Daewoo assembly plant in Craiova, Romania.

The Romanian government will announce in early July which automakers will enter the final round of bidding. General Motors, India's Tata and Russian Machines, owner of GAZ, also have expressed interest.

Slovakia already has three major assembly plants: Volkswagen in Bratislava, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen in Trnava and Kia in Zilina. But the Slovakian government has been trying to encourage industrial investment in the mountainous eastern portion of the country where unemployment is highest.

Besides being home to the Ford-Getrag transmission plant, Kechnec is 20km south of a major steel mill, U.S. Steel Kosice. Kechnec also is about 200km east of the Kia plant in Zilina, and only 100km from the Ukrainian border.

Lyle Frink and Reuters contributed to this report

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