Hyundai Automotive group chairman Chung Mong-gu said on Wednesday that affiliate Kia Motors is determined to make the car plant under construction in Zilina, Slovakia, the "best motor vehicle plant on the Continent as Kia's strategic platform to win the European consumer."

According to the Korea Herald, during a visit to the construction site located 120 miles (200 kilometres) northeast of the Slovak capital Bratislava, Chung spoke to local employees, reaffirming Kia Motors' resolve to make it a strategic base for the European market.

"This unit will function as Kia Motors' European base, responsible for churning out economically competitive cars with superb quality fit for our European buyers," said Chung.

"We will make this plant a state-of-the-art, world-class production facility, and our local employees will receive global-standard training," he added.

Chung reportedly stressed the significance of impeccable quality control, adding that when cars from the Zilina unit hit the European market, they should be good enough to be received as the highest quality vehicles.

Construction of the €1 billion plant, stretching over 166 hectares, began in April last year and it will be bale to produce 300,000 vehicles annually once completed in December 2006.

Kia has hired about 500 local employees for the factory, 384 of whom will start their training next month in Korea.