Hyundai to Build Car Plant in Russia

Plant will have capacity to produce 100,000 vehicles annually

South Korea's top carmaker Hyundai Motor signed a deal on Dec. 17 to build a car factory in Russia with a capacity of 100,000 vehicles a year, officials said. Hyundai said the company would invest $400 million to build the factory in St. Petersburg in the first half of next year.

It would be Hyundai's sixth overseas plant. The company has plants in the U.S., China, India and Turkey and a fifth is under construction in the Czech Republic.

"We hope the plant will help Hyundai become a brand to be loved by Russians," Hyundai chairman Chung Mong-Koo said. Hyundai says it is the best seller in Russia's foreign car market. In the first seven months of this year it sold 67,349 cars in Russia, up 20% from a year earlier.

Hyundai with its affiliate Kia Motors is the world's sixth largest automaker. It aims to become number five but growth has been threatened by competition, falling productivity and labor disputes. The group controls more than 70% of the South Korean auto market.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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