|“The PSA Peugeot Citroën Slovakia plant in Trnava is the youngest and technologically most modern production centre of the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group,” explains Lucciano Tonino Biondo, director of PCA Slovakia, s.r.o., and CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroën Slovakia. “After the French corporation announced strategic investment in January 2003, serial production of the Peugeot 207 model was launched in June 2006.”||
1/ Was this investment worthwhile?
The corporation’s decision to invest in Slovakia proved to be a very good one. Shortly after launching serial production, the Trnava plant became one of the corporation’s factories achieving the best quality indicators. And, as a result of this, in 2009 the parent corporation entrusted production of the Citroën C3 Picasso model also to Trnava.
In April 2011, the president of PSA Peugeot Citroën announced further investment in Slovakia by launching a third model. By mid-2012, the project will bring almost 800 new jobs to Trnava which the plant will be hiring for the third work shift. Launch of production of a new model in the spring of 2012 will create the opportunity of utilising the maximum capacity of the plant of 300,000 vehicles per year.
2/ You started production in Slovakia in 2006. Can you identify some important or crucial moments from this short history? One, two or three examples will be enough.
The significant moments in the history of our company include the start of serial production of the Peugeot 207 and also successful launch of production of the C3 Picasso in March 2009, which is also being produced here in Trnava. During the crisis we became the largest car producer in Slovakia. Since 2009, we have been the holder of the Slovakia national business award. We employ 3000 staff, more than 63 % of which have been working for us for more than 5 years.
3/ How have the numbers and types of vehicle developed over the years?
The annual production numbers of cars have varied as follows: in 2006, almost 52,000 cars, in 2007 and 2008, production was more than three times higher and in 2009 we became the largest car producers in Slovakia, in 2010, annual production was 187,000 (of which: Peugeot 207 – 110 000, C3 Picasso – 70 000).
4/ Where are your cars sold? How many of them end up in Slovakia, the European Union, Europe or the rest of the world?
The cars from our plant travel all over the world. Most of them, however, end up on European markets. Since Slovakia is a small country, under one percent of our production remains on the domestic market.
5/ In 2008, the crisis, or recession, began, hitting, amongst other fields, the car industry. How much did it impact your company? How did it affect the financial results for the years 2009 and 2010? Can you summarise them?
PSA Peugeot Citroën Slovakia was the second largest car producer in Slovakia, employing approximately 3,000 people.
Due to the fact that we produce small cars and the “scrapping bonus” system was introduced in several European countries, we survived the crisis without any fundamental changes. Our car plant production programme was set to copy precisely the needs of the market affected by the crisis and to react flexibly to them. We manufacture small cars with low consumption and low emissions. At the beginning of the crisis, we brought the model, C3 Picasso, onto the market and, thanks to our high and stable quality indicator, we became the only producer of this model and so we supply all markets where the PSA Peugeot Citroën operates.
Also thanks to adapting to the market, the number of orders rose to such an extent that since February of last year we have had to add an average of two working Saturdays per month. From June to the end of October the afternoon shift worked with one hour of overtime.
6/ What tasks, plans and goals does your company have for the coming years? (including innovations, investments, new products)
The investment by the French corporation, PSA Peugeot Citroën, of more than EUR 120 mil. into manufacture of the new model in Slovakia will bring with it almost 900 new jobs. For this reason, the Trnava plant is planning to launch a third shift and gradually increase production to its maximum capacity – 300,000 vehicles per year. For Trnava this is already the third model in its short history. On the one hand, this proves that the car plant and its staff have reached full maturity within the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group.
Recruitment of staff for some jobs directed at specialised personnel on the third shift in Trnava has already begun. The plant began processing applications for production operators and qualified robot operators half way through last year. The application and selection process itself for production started up in September 2011 with employment beginning in January 2012. During recruitment, the car production plant wants also to focus on graduates from secondary vocational schools where it expects support from the state in amending the study curriculum, directed at greater flexibility.
The new project gives greater responsibility to Slovak personnel in the project team than they had when production of the two models so far, the Peugeot 207 and Citroën C3 Picasso, was launched. While in the past, managers and technicians from the parent company were in the majority, with the newest project, almost 70% of the team is made up of specialised personnel from Trnava. Adaptation of the most important parts of the production line within the existing production halls already began to be implemented in the summer of 2010.
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