Hyundai opens plant in Russia
By Mary Del
Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea’s largest automaker, has opened a manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg, Russia.
With mass production scheduled to begin in January 2011, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Rus (HMMR), a fully owned subsidiary of Seoul-based Hyundai Motor, will have its annual production targeted at 105,000 vehicles in the first year, which will be increased to 150,000 units per year in 2012.
Hyundai Motor now has six production facilities outside its homeland with the completion of HMMR, including the United States, China, India, Turkey and the Czech Republic.
"Hyundai Motor Company plans to create 5,300 jobs by 2012 in St. Petersburg, together with 11 parts suppliers from Korea and, furthermore, contribute to the advancement of Russia’s automotive industry by developing and supporting local automotive parts manufacturers," said Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-Koo.
There are about 2,000 people currently working at the plants of HMMR and its suppliers. A large number of Russian employees were sent to Hyundai’s plants in Korea and the Czech Republic for training.
From steel stamping to assembly, HMMR carries out "full-cycle" manufacturing, and is the first foreign automaker to have such a complete facility in Russia. The presence of a stamping shop will allow Hyundai to produce high-end stamped panels while having better control over production costs. In addition, the plant is equipped with modern state-of-the-art facilities that provide a high level of automation. For instance, the automation ratio in the welding shop is estimated to be more than 50 percent, and Hyundai Motor’s goal is to increase that number to 80 percent in the near future.
At the grand opening, Hyundai Motor unveiled the first car to be produced at HMMR and also announced its name. The Solaris, a name derived from a Latin word for sun, Sol, is a four-door sub-compact sedan.
Hyundai Motor plans to sell 85,000 units of Solaris annually in Russia starting in 2011, including the five-door hatchback model, which will join the lineup later that year.