Slovenia's biggest exporter - the only car manufacturer in the country - announces plans to expand

Revoz plant in Novo Mesto

The only car manufacturer in Slovenia, Revoz, is expanding its plant and production. The Renault subsidiary Revoz plays an enormous role in the national economy of Slovenia. It is the country's biggest exporter, and also one of the biggest employers, with more than 2,500 employees. And in a country that has no automobile brand of its own, it's also become a point of pride.

The plant in Novo Mesto, in southern Slovenia, recently received an injection of 400 million euros to start producing the new Renault Twingos, in addition to Clios. Albin Kuznik, member of the board of Revoz, and head of production:

"The new Twingo series has now begun. Today we're making 200 of these automobiles, and the rest are Clios for a total of 750 units per day. The production process for the Twingo has been set up that they can run on the same production line as Clios. This helped prevent any major difficulties. We've also increased the amount of automation done at the factory. 51% of our jobs are done via robotics."

With revenues around 274 billion, the future of Revoz is of regional and national importance. If the new Twingo model fails it would be, as the daily newspaper Delo remarked, "disastrous" for Slovenia's economy.

And for a chilling example of what could happen, Slovenes need only cast an eye to Belgium, where Renault unexpectedly shut down its production plant in Vilvoorde. More than 3,000 employees lost their jobs there after the company said that it was too expensive and unsuccessful.

But for now, spirits are high as the expanding factory draws in labor from around the country and even the continent. Zdravko Slak, human resources director of Revoz:

"A big part of the newly employed in Slovenia stem from the regions around Posavlje and Bela Krajina and around Novo Mesto. But also from other parts of the country. In the beginning, we will need more people than later. From outside Slovenia, most of the workers are arriving from Slovakia or Bulgaria. And from non-EU member states, the workers are mostly from Croatia and other Balkan countries."

A significant portion of the country is counting on them to succeed.