From a first look, it might not seem that such a small country as Slovakia has so much to offer in the automotive sector. But don’t judge this 5 million book by its cover.
Slovakia has many things going for its automotive sector, starting with its four major OEMs –Volkswagen, PSA, KIA and our newest addition, JLR in Nitra. Around these we have a live network of over 350 Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers from all across the field: engines, brakes, plastic components and so on. All of this, combined with subsidies and innovation support, working infrastructure and its position in the heart of Europe, means Slovakia truly is the heart of the Central European automotive sector.
When it comes to e-Mobility, the OEMs here are ahead of the curve, with over 17 models currently in production and planned for the near future: four BEVs (battery electric vehicle), five PHEVs (plug-in hybrid vehicle) and eight MHEVs (mild hybrid electric vehicle). With a battery Gigafactory planned by the Slovak company INOBAT Auto and other e-Mobility supplier companies (with their pilot production in Voderady about to start construction), the Green Mobility network is growing larger than before and is one of the main opportunities for UK e-mobility suppliers.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Slovakia’s automotive sector has slowly regained its pace and production, thinking carefully and deeply about the lessons learned and how to build up better. Green mobility doesn’t stop at electric vehicles, as the Slovak government agreed, but continues with hydrogen, which is an aim for us as well.
The want for innovation continues further and DIT realises the potential still lying within municipalities of our region and our cities. Cooperating across the Central and Eastern European region, DIT colleagues connected with over 80 cities on what the biggest opportunities are, and so we were able to map out the most interesting areas of innovation in the region as part of our SMART Cities project. These were not limited to the automotive sector (though most opportunities are rooted in it) and include: zero carbon public transport – hydrogen/electric buses, retrofitting of buses, EV charging stations and other kerb solutions. There are also opportunities in smart infrastructure (such as smart ticketing to multi-purpose lamp posts), smart parking and electric refuse and construction vehicles.
The market in Slovakia is hungry for the UK’s talent and products, looking for new partners and trade relationships. Hydrogen and e-mobility are the largest opportunities for UK companies, with government’s initiatives such as new bus fleets and charging stations.
Another great area for opportunities is in the automotive aftermarket – we have many contacts in this area and we have helped UK companies establish themselves here. The DIT Slovakia team stands ready to connect UK companies with partners within our market, providing information and assistance to grow new business. We organise events and highlight the best that the UK has to offer – and will continue to do so, to help the automotive, green mobility, infrastructure and SMART Cities sectors to grow and expand.
We will be pleased to discuss how we can support you in Slovakia – please get in touch.
Michal Sventek, Trade Adviser
Department for International Trade, Bratislava