Hyundai considers $ 400 mln Russia car plant

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SEOUL, Oct 11 (Reuters) Hyundai Motor Co <005380.KS> is considering building a car manufacturing plant in Russia for about 0 million to expand its presence in the country's booming car market, a Hyundai official said on Thursday.

The plant would have the capacity to produce 100,000 cars annually, and Hyundai is in the process of picking a final site for the facility, the official told Reuters, declining to be identified.

Hyundai, the world's No. 6 auto maker along with its affiliate Kia Motors Corp <000270.KS>, sold 67,439 vehicles in Russia in the first seven months of the year, about 20 percent higher than 56,294 units a year ago, according to data from the Association of European Business in the Russian Federation.

Over half of Hyundai cars sold locally are already produced by the independent Taganrog car plant (TAGAZ) in southern Russia under a license agreement.

Sales of foreign car brands in Russia jumped 67 percent during the seven months to 861,736 units, according to the data.

Russia's car market is booming thanks to fast economic growth and consumers' increasingly easy access to credit.

The country lures foreign automakers with tax breaks on assembly plants, while its largest carmaker, Avtovaz, is losing market share.

The move also comes as Hyundai is expanding overseas units to cushion against the impact of a higher won currency and labour stoppages at home.

Hyundai and Kia plan to have around half their output -- or more than 3 million vehicles -- abroad within the next four years. Last year, they made 1 million units abroad.

Hyundai, which has factories in the United States, China, India and Turkey, is adding another plant in the Czech Republic.

Kia has factories in China and Slovakia and is building one in the United States.

REUTERS SR GC1902

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