Hyundai Motor will officially open its Czech Republic plant on Thursday (24 September), 11 months after production began.

A Hyundai UK spokesman said the opening was held back until the "pretty bits" such as landscaping and a fountain were completed and ready for official ceremony. As well as the usual politicians and local dignitaries, those attending will include dealer personnel from across Europe.

The Czech Hyundai plant supplemented the Kia  plant in neighbouring Slovakia opened earlier.

The Kia plant - which began building the C-segment Ceed model line and later added the Sportage SUV - is now making Hyundai brand models as well and both plants eventually will produce vehicles for the two brands.

The Hyundiai plant, which began operations with the i30 line (which shares its platform with the Ceed) also makes gearboxes which are shipped over the border to the Kia plant.

Korea's Maeil business newspaper reported at the weekend that Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group chairman Chung Mong-koo would not attend what it erroneously called a "ground-breaking ceremony" in the Czech Republic this week. Vice chairman Chung Eui-sun would preside as he is in charge of overseas sales.

Chairman Chung went to the Czech Republic for the factory's ground-breaking ceremony in 2007, the paper noted. Ten other senior executives including Kia's European chief Lee Hyung-geun and Hyundai Mobis president Chung Suk-soo will be at the ceremony this week, it said.

Graeme Roberts

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