SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's biggest car maker, plans to pick a location for a 1.1 billion euro ($1.28 billion) European production plant in early March, a company spokesman said on Friday.
Out of the four candidates, the Czech Republic had a good chance of winning the investment, said Jake Jang, a Hyundai Motor spokesman. The other candidates are Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
"The Czech Republic has many strengths in terms of well-constructed infrastructure, geographical benefits and wage competitiveness when workers' skills are taken into account," Jang said.
"But I'm a bit wary to say for sure the Czech Republic would be choosen as other countries are offering competitive packages for a deal," he added.
Hyundai Motor plans to build the plant to secure a firmer foothold in Europe where its sales are rising rapidly. The company saw sales in the region rise 34.5 percent in the first half from a year ago.
The new plant will eventually have the capacity to produce at least 300,000 units per year and construction is expected to begin in early 2005, Jang said.
Key executives from Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors Corp. have returned from a one-week tour of various sites in Europe.
Hyundai built a $1 billion plant in the U.S. state of Alabama in April last year as part of its expansionary drive.