Besides using its Indian operations as an export hub for fully built Atos Prime cars, Hyundai will also use it for exports of automotive components.

The company is increasing the installed capacity of its engine and transmission plant for supplies to Kia and Hyundai plants globally. Hyundai plans to export 72,000 units of the small Atos Prime car this year with local production nearing 250,000 units.

Hyundai Motor India managing director Byung Ho Sung said: "For Hyundai, India has become one of our core operations and it plays a significant role as a production base for Hyundai's operations around the world. HMIL has emerged as the largest exporter of cars.

"As a part of the company's global growth strategy, we have started focusing on the export of auto components. Since the cost of manufacturing is much cheaper here, we plan to make India the export hub for auto components also. We are currently exporting components to Russia and Korea and plant to extending to various parts of Europe and America."

From exports of $US800 million in 2003, Indian suppliers are projected to ship parts worth $2.6 billion by 2006.

Deepesh Rathore / Tilak Swarup