SOUTH KOREA: Hyundai eyes JV in Thailand
Hyundai Motor is in talks to form a joint venture in Thailand and is separately considering building a plant in Southeast Asia, a senior company official told Reuters on Friday.
The South Korea-based auto maker withdrew from Thailand, the biggest auto market in Southeast Asia by sales volume, after the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the news agency noted.
But Hyundai reportedly said it wants to rebuild its regional presence to capture rising demand that is expected with an upswing in Southeast Asian economies.
"We are in concrete talks with a local partner to enter the Thai market. We are considering a joint venture," Han Chang-hwan, general manager of Hyundai Motor, told Reuters.
He reportedly did not reveal the name of the company with which Hyundai was negotiating but added Hyundai planned to begin selling cars into the Thai market in the second half of this year.
Reuters noted that Hyundai represents a mere 4% of Southeast Asia's 1.8 million-a-year automobile market, where it sells the Getz mini-car and Matrix sport utility vehicle.
Southeast Asian markets - to which it ships CKD kits for local assembly - account for 7% of Hyundai's total exports, the report added.
Before it pulled out of Thailand, Hyundai had a 1.3% market share, the company said, according to Reuters.