Continental, the German maker of tires and car parts, launched construction work on a new 60-million-euro ($78 million) production facility for brake disc calipers in Slovakia on Monday, the company announced. The new plant in Zvolen in central Slovakia should be completed and start operations by the end of 2005. Continental Vice President John Bowling highlighted Slovakia's low labor costs and advantageous accessibility for clients. The company is already present in the Matador factory in Puchov in central Slovakia. By 2009 the plant is expected to employ 500 people and produce five million tires annually, destined for exports. A further 2,000 supplier jobs will be created. Continental, which manufactures more than half of its products abroad, also has factories in the neighboring Czech Republic and Hungary as well as Poland and Ukraine. "Within the next two years we plan to open a tire factory in eastern Europe, probably in Lithuania," said Continental chairman Manfred Wennemer.