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Hyundai to offer auto finance in U.K., Brazil

Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo (right) greets Banca Sandanter’s chairman Emilio Botin at the carmaker’s office in Seoul on Wednesday. (Hyundai Motor Group)
Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo (right) greets Banca Sandanter’s chairman Emilio Botin at the carmaker’s office in Seoul on Wednesday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group will set up auto-financing firms in Brazil and the U.K. in collaboration with Spain-based Banco Santander.

Banco Santader is Europe’s largest commercial bank with more than 86 million customers.

Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong-koo met with Banco Santander chairman Emilio Botin in Seoul to discuss the plans.

“The discussions regarding a business collaboration are aimed at providing high-quality auto financing services to customers in Europe and South America where Santander has a strong presence and financial network,” Hyundai Motor Group said in a statement.

Once the plans take shape, the U.K. finance firm will be established and operated by the group’s finance arm Hyundai Capital, Hyundai Motor Group officials said.

The company said that details including the date for setting up operations in the U.K. are not yet decided.

As for similar plans for Brazil, a Hyundai Motor official said that they were under consideration as part of the company’s efforts to consolidate its position in Brazil’s fast growing automotive market and to strengthen the group’s sales operations in that country in time for the completion of the new plant.

According to the carmaker, Brazil is projected to become the world’s third largest market for automobiles in 2015.

Hyundai Motor Co., the group’s flagship company and South Korea’s largest carmaker, is currently working on its seventh overseas production base in Piracicaba, 160 kilometers northwest of Sao Paulo.

The plant is scheduled to begin production in November 2012, and all vehicles produced at the plant will designed as flex-fuel vehicles in line with preferences of Brazilian motorists.

The planned U.K. operation will be the second collaborative project between Hyundai Motor Group and the Spanish bank.

In October 2009, Banco Santander and Hyundai Motor Group’s finance arm Hyundai Capital established Hyundai Capital Germany GmbH.

Hyundai Capital, which is 56.48 percent held by Hyundai Motor, holds 30.01 percent of Hyundai Capital Germany.

According to the Hyundai Motor Group, 46 percent of Kia Motors Corp. vehicles sold in Germany last year were purchased using financing schemes offered by Hyundai Capital Germany. Last year, 31,234 Kia vehicles were sold in Germany.

While the company does not yet provide financial services for Hyundai vehicles at present, Hyundai Capital Germany is looking to expand its operations to include Hyundai cars in the future, the Hyundai Motor Group official said.

According to the Korean carmaker, its collaboration with Banco Santander is expanding to other European nations including Austria, Italy and Sweden.

By Choi He-suk  (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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