Hyundai Motor to invest in Chinese venture Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding last month with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. to establish a joint venture operation in Beijing.

A Hyundai spokesman says the JV will focus on developing a unique Chinese car especially for the local market.

While neither Hyundai nor Beijing Auto would comment, the move has a direct link with DaimlerChrysler AG, which holds an 11.1% share in Hyundai. Beijing Auto also has a long-time JV with DaimlerChrysler Corp., called Beijing Jeep.

Hyundai will invest $240 million in the new JV, which initially will produce EF Sonatas at an underutilized Beijing Auto plant located in a nearby suburb.

The JV, to be called Beijing Hyundai Motor Co., targets production of 100,000 vehicles annually beginning in 2002, increasing to 200,000 units by 2005 following expansion of the facility. The Avanti X-D also will be phased into the production mix, as will taxi versions of the EF Sonata.