Hyundai Motor has been quoted as saying it was considering building a $400m car plant in Russia to meet rising demand there while a Korean newspaper claimed the decision had already been made.

"We are considering building a plant in Russia, where demand has been growing. But no decision has been made yet," a Hyundai Motor spokesman told Agence France Press (AFP).

The report said the Russian plant would be Hyundai's sixth overseas after those in the United States, China, India and Turkey while a fifth is under construction in the Czech Republic. Affiliate Kia has a factory in Slovakia, too.

According to AFP, a Korean business newspaper said Hyundai Motor had already made a decision to build the Russian plant with a capacity of 100,000 vehicles a year for $400m and that construction in Saint Petersburg could begin early next year.

Hyundai would join several other automakers who, led by Ford, and including Toyota and Nissan, are fast turning this area into the 'Detroit of Russia'. Mitsubishi is expected to make a decision on local production by the end of the year, too.

Hyundai is aiming to become the world's number five carmaker but growth has been threatened by competition, falling productivity and labour disputes, AFP noted.

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