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Hyundai chairman considers building factory in Brazil

From detnews| May 15,2007

Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong-koo is considering building an auto factory in Brazil, a company spokesman said Monday.

The move comes amid increasing sales in the South American country.

Chung told Brazil's Senate leader Renan Calheiros that Hyundai may construct a factory that could produce about 100,000 vehicles annually, said spokesman Ki Jin-ho.

Chung met Calheiros in Brasilia, the capital, on Friday, Ki said, to garner support for a bid by the South Korean city of Yeosu to host the 2012 World Expo.

Chung provided no other details about the possible investment at his meeting with Calheiros, Ki said.

Hyundai and affiliate Kia Motors Corp. are expanding aggressively overseas and aim to become the world's fifth-largest carmaker by 2010. They currently rank No. 6.

Hyundai has overseas factories in China, India, Turkey and the United States and is building a plant in the Czech Republic. Kia has factories in China and Slovakia. It is building a second China plant as well as its first in the United States.

Both companies also export vehicle kits for assembly with local partners in more than a dozen countries including Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Egypt, Indonesia, Vietnam and Sudan and Ecuador.

Last month, Hyundai and its Brazilian partner CAOA Montadora de Veiculos SA opened a $72 million kit assembly plant with annual capacity of 50,000 vehicles. The factory is wholly owned by the Brazilian company.

"Demand for Hyundai vehicles in Brazil is growing," Ki said.

Excluding knockdowns, Hyundai in 2006 sold 6,588 vehicles in Brazil, up sharply from 1,640 the year before.

For all of Latin America, Hyundai sold 133,824 vehicles in 2006, up from 11,380 in 2005, Ki said.

Chung was also in Brazil for the signing of a contract between Hyundai Steel Co. and Brazil's Companhia Vale do Rio Doce.

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