Hyundai Motor Company officially opened its new head office in the south of the city of Seoul on December 27.

The new 21-storey building will house both HMC and Kia, delivering additional cost benefits to the merged manufacturers as well as clearly indicating their role at the centre of the Hyundai Motor Group, which was established last August as an independent operation after separating from the Hyundai Business Group conglomerate.

More than 1,000 guests, including the Korean government ministers of finance and economy, industry and energy and construction and transport, heard Hyundai Motor Group chairman, Chung Mong-Koo welcome the move to new offices.

He said: "This move signifies the go-ahead and profitable character of HMC and Kia and will bring together all our automotive manufacturing operations under one roof. This will be our launch-pad to reach our ambition of joining the world's top five automakers".

HMC's new head office is in the suburb of Yangjae and will house 2700 employees, 1,700 from HMC and 1,000 from Kia. The building provides 82,500 square metres of office space plus 22,440 square metres of surrounding area. The move into the new head office began in November and will be completed before the end of January 2001. HMC formerly shared office space built and owned by Hyundai Construction in central Seoul with many of the Hyundai Business Group's extensive and varied non-automotive operations.

HMC expects 2000 year sales of 1.59 million cars and trucks and around $US649 million pre-tax profit, four per cent of earnings. For 2001, HMC forecasts sales of 1.7 million vehicles including over one million exports, compared with 2000's estimated 880,000 exports.