Fleet News

Euro factory plan for Hyundai-Kia

SOUTH Korean carmaker Hyundai-Kia is preparing to back its expansion in European markets by opening a new assembly plant in eastern Europe.

Now being studied by a team of specialist advisers, the project will get the go-ahead as soon as annual European sales by the group reach a combined total of 500,000.

'Our aim is to build in Europe for Europe and initial business studies have shown the proposition becomes viable with sales of half a million. I think we will be ready to start building our new factory by the end of next year,' Kia Motors Europe president Kwang-Ho Wan said.

Hyundai sales in European markets have topped 280,000 this year and a 30% boost during September and October has allowed Kia sales to break the 100,000 barrier.

'Even though total pan-European sales are running at 4% lower than last year, our registrations are 6% ahead as customers make a positive response to our new model introductions.

'The Rio range has been well accepted, but the new Sorento sporty utility is our success story of the year – it will play a key role in raising our image here and help us achieve our ambition of selling 300,000 cars annually by 2005,' Wan said.

Last month, Kia UK announced the appointment of Phil Molkenthin to the role of national fleet manager. The manufacturer also appointed David Macpherson as used car manager, with responsibility to ensure it gives 'serious input' to its used car operations within the dealer network serious input.

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