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Hyundai puts the Kingdom in fast lane

PRODUCTION of the first cars and vans to be assembled in Cambodia for domestic sale is set to begin at the US$62 million Hyundai plant in Koh Kong province this September.

The chief technical officer for plant owner Camko Motor Co, Gee Kyu Yong, said yesterday that the factory was 90 percent complete – with vehicle-assembly equipment due to be installed on August 20.

“In September, it will be possible to produce the first car here,” he said.

He also said that Hyundais would be the first automobiles to be mass produced and marketed in the Kingdom.

The new plant will initially make SUVs and 12-seat vans from parts manufactured abroad, according to Camko Motor’s finance director, Lim Visal.
Hyundai’s sales office in Phnom Penh sold vehicles manufactured in South Korea but had been frequently unable to meet demand, he said.

“We sell at least 50 cars per month, and we often run out of stock to sell,” said Lim Visal. “The Cambodian market is very receptive to Hyundai.”

Located in the Neang Kok Koh Kong Special Economic Zone, Camko Motor Co is a joint venture between KH Motors – the domestic distributor of Hyundais – and Cambodia’s Ly Young Phat Group.

Initially, the company intends only to satisfy the domestic demand for Hyundais, but may eventually export across the region.

“We plan to put together 1,000 automobiles in the first year,” said Lim Visal. “By the second or third year, we will be assembling 3,000 vehicles.”

The cost of building the plant would eventually total $62 million, Lim Visal said. Work on the first, $12 million phase is slated to wrap up in September. The firm will begin its second and third phases, costing $10 million and $40 million, when conditions allow.

Construction on the 165,000-square-metre plant began last June. The site covers 16 hectares and will include two facilities for assembly, as well as worker dormitories.

Hyundai generated global revenue of $1.2 billion during the second quarter, as its operating profits climbed 31 percent compared to a year earlier, according to financial statements released yesterday.

A jump in the firm’s sales in the United States made up for falling figures in China and Europe, Bloomberg quoted Hyundai Motor Co Chairman Chung Mong Koo as saying.

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