Saturday, 28 April 2007

Hyundai in the Czech Republic

News that Hyundai has just held the ground-breaking ceremony for its new Czech plant at Nosovice - handy timing given that many of Hyundai/Kia's top people will already have been in eastern Europe for the opening of the Kia plant at Zilina earlier in the week.

There are other links between the two sites too. The new i30 model which Hyundai will build at the plant bears more than a passing resemblance to Kia's cee'd, and Zilina will provide engines to Nosovice as well.

It will be interesting to see how these two rather similar Korean brands develop now that they are under the same corporate roof. Hyundai is positioned as a more sober, up-market proposition than Kia, which is supposed to be rather younger and sportier, but I suspect that this distinction has escaped most potential buyers so far. My guess would be that to most people, Kia and Hyundai badges still both say more or less the same thing - good, solid, if slightly anonymous, value-for-money motoring from Korea.

That's probably going to change, though, as the more of the two brands' increasingly impressive new models come on stream, and as Kia raises its profile through its sponsorship of major sporting events.

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