Hyundai Announces Large Investment In Czech Plant

Hyundai will invest from 800 million to 1.0 billion euros (US$963 million - $1.2 billion) in a new Czech car plant, senior vice president In-Seo Kim said on March 27. The plant, at Nosovice in the east of the country, would provide 3,000 jobs directly and "a further 10,000 additional jobs owing to our suppliers and the development of other services," Kim said. It will start production in 2008 and become fully operational a year later, producing 300,000 cars a year.

"This is a great opportunity for the Czech economy, for Czech companies and for Czech citizens," Czech Minister of Industry Milan Urban said, adding that he expected 15,000 jobs to be created by the plant and a 1.5% boost given to Czech GDP when the plant was in full production. The factory would furthermore give a 50 billion koruna ($.7 billion euros, US$2.1 billion) boost to the Czech trade balance, he added.

Hyundai would be the third major car producer to be based in the Czech Republic, after Volkswagen Group's Skoda Auto, sited at Mlada Boleslav around 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of Prague and the joint venture TPCA (Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile) at Kolin, 60 kilometers east of the Czech capital.

Hyundai's sister company, Kia, is already constructing a car plant at Zilina, in Slovakia, around 60 kilometers east of Nosovice. The Czech government has promised to build a new motorway linking Nosovice to Slovakia as part of the investment incentive package.

The auto industry already accounts for 20% of Czech industrial production and 18% of its total exports and has been a major factor fuelling economic growth, which reached 6% in 2005.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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