Korean car maker Hyundai is to begin production of its Elantra passenger car at Bangchan General Assembly Co. in mid-2001 - distributing them through United Auto Sales (Thailand) - with production of the Santa Fe SUV to start in 2002.

UAS director and general manager Vunchai Jungsanguanpornsuk, says that the company is currently preparing to assemble the Elantra from completely knocked-down (CKD) kits.

Alongside the assembly of the Santa Fe model in 2002, UAS is also considering the possibility of building the Trajet minivan.

UAS - which hopes to capture five percent of the 1,600-1,800 cc car market with the Elantra - is funding the project with Hyundai providing technical support.

UAS hopes to use Thai components, including tyres, batteries and interior parts, although local content regulations have been scrapped.

The new-generation Accent model may also be introduced, depending on forthcoming city car regulations.