HYUNDAI’S new assembly plant in Koh Kong province may start operations in February, the head of the joint venture responsible for the plant said Thursday, countering a Bloomberg report that production would not begin until the end of 2010.
Although the US$12 million plant is only 20 to 30 percent complete because of delays, it is set to begin assembling about 100 cars per month during its initial phase, from February 2010, said Jo Young Dae, chief operating officer and director of Camko Motor Co Ltd, a joint venture between South Korean Hyundai distributor KH Motors and Phnom Penh-based Ly Yong Phat (LYP) Group.
Bloomberg reported Thursday that assembly would not begin until the end of next year, citing LYP’s general manager of the business division, Visal Lim, who blamed excessive rain for delays. However, Jo Young Dae later denied the report.
Construction began in June on the first phase, which will cover 165,000 square metres, and further phases are planned, he said. “After three years we will try to make 450 to 600 cars every month.” This second phase would cost an additional $15 million, he added.
“We see Cambodia [has] … potential opportunities in the automobile market in the future – that’s why we started our assembly plant here,” said Jo Young Dae, adding that the facility would create 1,000 jobs.
Acknowledging that the Kingdom’s automobile market is “very small” compared to other countries in the region, he said he was optimistic that sales could be increased by lowering prices by up to 30 percent for Cambodians.