Hyundai has broken ground for its third plant in China.

Bejing Hyundai, a joint venture between the South Korean carmaker and Beijing Automotive Industry (BAIC), is expected to sell about 700,000 cars in China this year, up some 23% from 2009 and above current capacity of 600,000 units.

BAIC chairman Xu Heyi said: “When the third plant is up and running, Beijing Hyundai will speed up the introduction of Hyundai's medium-to-high end models to further expand its portfolio."

The new plant, on the outskirts of Beijing, will add 300,000 units of new capacity annually in July 2012, rising to 400,000 units eventually, Xu added.

China is one of Hyundai’s fastest growing markets with 59,287 sales in October, up 23% year on year.

Beijing Hyundai, which makes Accent, i30, Verna, ix35 and Tucson models, will roll out a new Sonata car next year, Hsiu-Fu Wang, company vice president said.

Ne models, including an SUV, will be launched after the third plant is up and running, he added.

Hyundai joins a number of foreign carmakers expanding in China. Ford is building a greenfield car and engine plant with partners Chongqing Changan Automobile and Mazda. General Motors is also seeking a site for a new China manufacturing facility.

China's car market has continued to expand during the global downturn although analysts expect growth to moderate next year. Wang said car sales could grow at between 10-15% in 2011 and beyond.