Hyundai, Kia Motors open U.S. tech centerHyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., the country's two leading automakers, said yesterday they have opened a joint technical center in the United States as part of localization efforts. The Hyundai and Kia America technical center in Detroit, Michigan, is the culmination of their plan to establish a local production and sales system, the companies said. The automakers spent $68 million on the technical center that features engine development and design labs, and even a miniature test track. The Hyundai Motor group said that the technical center, together with its production plant in Montgomery, Alabama, will enable it to produce, develop and sell vehicles locally instead of having to ship auto parts back and forth from Korea. "Hyundai and Kia cars will now evolve into major international brands since Michigan is the world center of car research and development," said Kim Sang-won, vice chairman of the group. The technical center aims to design and conduct testing to develop cars that suit the taste of U.S. motorists, said Kim. Hyundai has been boosting its efforts to become a global player since 1997, when it established its first overseas production plant in India. Hyundai's Indian factory rolls out an average of 250,000 units a year, while plants in Turkey and China produce a respective 60,000 and 200,000 annually. Kia Motors is currently constructing its first overseas factory in Slovakia, which will have an annual production capacity of 130,000 units.
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