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Hyundai to start Czech production 3-months early

Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea’s top automaker, plans to start mass production at its new factory in the Czech Republic three months earlier than initially planned, a company official said on Wednesday.

Hyundai, the world’s No. 5 car maker along with its affiliate Kia Motors Corp, aims to start mass production at the factory starting in November, the official told Reuters by telephone, asking not to be identified. Hyundai had previously said it planned to start mass production of the plant from February next year.

The company will make the i30 hatchback initially and later produce a minivan or a sport utility vehicle (SUV) at the €1.1 billion ($1.61 billion) factory, he said. Hyundai plans an initial capacity of 200,000 units, increasing later to annual production of 300,000.

Overseas units are a key to Hyundai’s future growth because they can help the company weather the impact from sharp movements in the won currency and possible conflicts with its unionized workers at home, analysts said. Shares in Hyundai rose 0.41% to 73,000 won as of 0132 GMT, outperforming a 1.08% fall in the wider market. (Reuters)