Automotive News Europe reports that Hyundai Motor Co. is considering building a second auto plant in Europe. The Czech Republic is one possible site. The plant would be for Hyundai, says an executive at a large supplier in Korea.

"They are seriously looking at putting a plant in Europe for HMC," he said.

Hyundai has considered other countries. But "right now the Czech Republic is the one they are targeting," the executive said.

Hyundai subsidiary Kia Motors is building an assembly plant in Zilina, Slovakia. Due to open in late 2006, the E1.1 billion plant will have 200,000-unit annual capacity. But it is expandable to 300,000.

In late August, Czech Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn made a three-day trip to Korea. While there he met with Hyundai. Jahn was accompanied by Radomil Novak, director of Czechinvest, the Czech foreign-investment agency. "Mr. Jahn was here about contact with potential investors to the Czech Republic," said an official at the Czech Embassy in Seoul.

Back in Prague, Jahn declined comment on Hyundai. But he is optimistic about Korean investment. He said: "In two years there will be $2 billion (E1.6 billion) in new investment coming from South Korea into central and eastern Europe."

Automotive News Europe