PRAGUE -- The Czech government on Wednesday approved a 1.5 billion crown ($59.7 million) funding package to pave the way for an expected major investment by Hyundai Motor Co.
Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn told journalists the funds would be used to prepare land and infrastructure for the plant, which would allow South Korea's top carmaker to get closer to customers in Europe, its second biggest overseas market.
The government had already earmarked 200 million crowns for the preparation of an industrial zone for the plant.
Hyundai is expected to make an announcement on the 1 billion euro investment by the end of the month. A senior company official said in September the Czech Republic "was the ideal candidate site".
Toyota Motor Corp and France's PSA/Peugeot-Citroen began production in the Czech Republic this year through a joint venture plant.
Hyundai's affiliate, Kia Motors, has plans to make 200,000 vehicles a year at a factory in Zilina, Slovakia, starting late 2006.
The plant will have an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles, which matches the full capacity of the Toyota-PSA/Peugeot-Citroen joint plant.
Hyundai aims to start production in 2008 in what would be its third European production base.