Hyundai Motor chief will huddle with Indian leader

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Hyundai Motor chief will huddle with Indian leader

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Korea starting Monday.

The primary purpose of Modi’s trip is to meet with President Park Geun-hye.

Chung will meet the prime minister on Tuesday after the Korea-India CEO Forum at the Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong, central Seoul. The event will be organized by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy; and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

Considering that India is the world’s sixth-largest car producer with 3.84 million units last year, industry insiders expect the meeting between the Indian leader and the boss of Korea’s two auto giants - Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors - might signal a new business opportunity in the Indian market.

According to government officials, Modi might ask Chung to expand investment in India.

The prime minister has been carrying out many business-friendly policies, including tax breaks, to attract foreign investment as part of his initiative to boost manufacturing and create jobs.

Hyundai Motor currently operates two production plants in Chennai. The two plants produce a combined 680,000 cars per year.

According to industry data, about 2.54 million cars were sold in India last year and the figure is expected to grow to 5 million in the next five years.

Hyundai Motor sold more than 400,000 cars in India for the first time last year and 112,000 units in the first quarter of 2015.

According to industry data, the market share for the company in India was 16.3 percent, second to Maruti Suzuki (42.9 percent) as of March.

Hyundai, however, is expected to be challenged by other foreign brands, including Renault-Nissan, which has planned to increase its lineups for India. The company started selling the Lodgy multipurpose vehicle in March and in September plans to introduce a small sedan tailored for the Indian market. The company also will introduce the new Duster SUV in the first half of next year.

Since small cars and SUVs are 43 percent of the Indian market, Hyundai Motor is trying to respond to the moves by foreign automakers.

“It definitely is an important market for us,” said a spokesman for Hyundai Motor. “The ultimate goal there is to produce and sell more cars, as it is a base for exports to the global market.”

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