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Peugeot to invest 130 mn euros in Slovakia

BRATISLAVA, Apr 11 – French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen said Monday it would invest 130 million euros ($187 million) to launch the production of a new model at its Slovak plant.

"The production of a new model will be launched in 2012 and it will be a new Peugeot model," PSA chief executive Philippe Varin said as he announced the sum.

He did not specify the car type.

"The investment will create 900 new jobs in Slovakia," he added.

The plant, employing 3,000 people and currently operating in two shifts, plans to launch a third shift and reach its full operational capacity of 300,000 units a year in 2012, said Varin.

Speaking alongside Varin, Slovak Prime Minister Iveta Radicova hailed the move.

"The investment and new jobs for people are good news for Slovakia amid the lingering global downturn," she said.

The plant, which produces vehicles mostly for the German, French and Italian markets, has weathered the global slump by focusing on small, greener cars.

The factory in Trnava, western Slovakia, produced 187,000 autos last year, down from 205,000 in 2009.

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PSA, which launched production in Slovakia in 2006, currently produces the Peugeot 207 and Citroen C3 Picasso cars here.

The auto industry is now the driver of the former communist economy.

Slovakia, which joined the European Union in 2004 and adopted the euro in 2009, is also home to plants run by Germany\’s Volkswagen and South Korea\’s KIA Motors.

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