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Slovenian Automotive Cluster Ready for New Challenges

Ljubljana, 06 July (STA) - Slovenian automotive parts companies, united in the Automotive Cluster of Slovenia (ACS), presented some of their plans for the future at a press conference on Tuesday, announcing among other things a joint effort in the manufacturing of electric cars.

Slovenian car companies are aware of new opportunities in the car industry, which is why they are working together on a number of development projects and have set up a shared development platform known as Si.EVA, ACS head Dusan Busen announced in Ljubljana.

Iztok Seljak of industrial conglomerate Hidria elaborated that EUR 300m will be invested into the development and industrialisation of the Slovenian car industry in the coming three to five years, EUR 50m of which is to come from Hidria.

According to Robert Zerjav of car electronics manufacturer Iskra Avtoelektrika, the market share of hybrid and electric vehicles is expected to increase to 10% by 2020, which is why the car industry is engaging in closer cooperation. The Slovenian industry is following this trend successfully and in time, he added.

Cooperation involving research and investment into green mobility, which will enable Slovenian suppliers to participate in the production of electric cars and conventional cars with lower CO2 emission, also features Revoz.

According to the chairman of the Slovenian subsidiary of French car maker Renault, Ales Bratoz, Slovenian suppliers already joined forces in Revoz's production of Twingo cars. "Local integration was at 33% with this model."

He explained that the Renault-Nissan pair is already cooperating with Daimler in the development of a Twingo Smart model. The production of the Twingo successor and of a four-seat Smart is expected to be launched in 2013, with electric versions to follow.

"We will also produce cars without CO2 emissions in Novo mesto. This is the opportunity that is already showing potential also for Slovenian suppliers," Bratoz said, announcing that the partnership with Daimler will bring more jobs.

Seljak added that "it would be appropriate if the government backed such projects with development funds, especially because the return on investment periods here are among the shortest".

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