* Chung downplays market speculation of new U.S. plant for
Hyundai or Kia
* Another top exec says not seriously considering U.S.
* Hyundai Motor shares down 0.5 pct, Kia flat
SEOUL, May 6 Hyundai Motor Group does not
immediately plan to build a new car factory in the United
States, Chairman Chung Mong-koo said on Monday, downplaying
speculation that the South Korean automaker would soon announce
production facilities in the key market.
"We have no plan (for a new U.S. factory) for now," the
75-year-old told reporters at Seoul's Gimpo airport before
leaving for the United States.
Hyundai Motor Group is a parent company for Hyundai Motor Co
and Kia Motors Corp, which combined are
the world's fifth-biggest car company by sales.
Chung, who has so far ruled out major capacity expansion,
last week said the company "will look into whether there are
opportunities" to expand production overseas, giving rise to
industry talk that the automaker was considering building a new
plant in the United States.
Chung is expected to visit Hyundai and Kia's U.S. plants in
Alabama and Georgia during his visit, which coincides with South
Korean President Park Geun-hye's U.S. trip. )
Hyundai shares were down 0.5 percent, underperforming a
wider market that was up 0.3 percent at 0314 GMT. Kia
shares were flat.
Kim Yong-hwan, another senior executive at Hyundai Motor
Group, also said on Monday that the company is not seriously
considering building a new car factory in the United States.
"We are closely watching the U.S. market situation ... but
we are not having an in-depth consideration of a new plant
there," he told Reuters.
He said an introduction of a third shift at Hyundai's
Alabama plant last year helped ease capacity constraints in the
Analysts have said Hyundai or Kia are likely to soon build a
new U.S. plant to address capacity shortages that have hurt
their market share and sales this year.