South Korean automakers still do well in the slow European car market image

Although overall sales across the European region are still declining, the South Korean manufacturers, Hyundai and Kia, haven’t tamed their ambitions in a market that still finds to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hyundai Motors just expanded its European headquarters, located in Offenbach, close to the German city of Frankfurt, which also has the European headquarters of Kia Motors, Hyundai’s 34 % owned affiliate. Hyundai also has in close vicinity a design centre at Rüsselsheim and its new test centre at the Nürburgring, opened in September.

Outside Germany, Hyundai has two car factories, one in the Czech Republic and one in Turkey, with a total annual output capacity of 500,000 units. Kia has a facility in Slovakia with a capacity of 300,000 cars.

The fiercest criticisms of Hyundai and Kia usually come from France, where Arnaud Montebourg, industry minister in France’s socialist government, after he assumed office last year, he accused the South Korean carmakers of dumping. Later on, he lashed out at French drivers who were purchasing Hyundais or Kias.

Among the reasons for the success in Europe of Hyundai and Kia are, for sure, the significantly lower production costs and labor flexibility that come from setting up plants in places such as the Czech Republic and Turkey rather than France or Italy.

Via Financial Times