Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea's top automaker, on Saturday opened a second plant in India to take on growing competition, cementing the country's position as a global hub for small cars.
The facility in Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, will double capacity to 600,000 units, second only to leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd's planned expansion to 1 million units by 2010/11.
The plant, adjacent to the existing facility, will largely be dedicated to making the new i10 for local and export markets, Chairman and Chief Executive Chung Mong-Koo said.
"Hyundai Motor India will play its role of a global manufacturing hub for all of Hyundai's small car models," he said in a statement.
Hyundai, which along with affiliate Kia Motors, is the world's sixth-largest automaker, is banking on new models such as the premium Genesis, and new factories in markets such as China and India, to boost sales by 20 percent this year.
Hyundai Motor India sold 327,160 vehicles in 2007, up 9 percent from the previous year. Sales of models such as the Santro and Getz hatchbacks rose 8 percent in the domestic market, while exports climbed 12 percent.
Hyundai, which is in talks to launch commercial vehicles in India within a year, will face a bigger fight from No. 3 car maker Tata Motors Ltd, which will roll out the ultra cheap Nano car, priced at just over $2,500, later this year.
Hyundai Motor India aims to make 530,000 vehicles in 2008, is expanding its dealer network to 300 from 230, and will export to 90 markets, up from 73 now.