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Hyundai opens new European Training Centre in Geel, Belgium

Reflecting Hyundai's continuing strong growth in Europe. Hyundai Heavy Industries Europe (HHIE), the construction equipment and forklift truck division of the Korean industrial giant, has opened an extensive new training centre close to its European headquarters in Geel, Belgium.

Continued growth and expansion at the headquarters offices in the Vossendaal district of Geel has meant that the previous training facilities were no longer adequate to accommodate the increasing number of dealers, technicians and sales staff who come each year from all over Europe for product and technical training.

The new Hyundai Training Centre, opened officially by managing director Mr J.W. Hwang on 22 November, is already fully equipped and operational, and the first courses have begun. Now, with more space and fully modernised facilities and equipment, more trainees can be accommodated and a broader range of operator and technical training courses can be given, said Mr Hwang.

The part of the modern training complex that Hyundai occupies to accommodate its training centre, provides the company with purpose-built facilities. It includes a classroom for theoretical instruction and lectures, a classroom with sectioned major components such as engines, axles, transmissions and valve-blocks, and two workshops for practical sessions.

And there is another very large hall where complete or partially dismantled machines (presently two hydraulic excavators, a wheel-loader and three fork lift trucks) are used for practical exercises including diagnostic analysis, fault finding, checking and re-setting adjustments.

Also accommodated within the same training complex, with a variety of Hyundai machines for hands-on driver and safety training has also been established, in conjunction with specialist training company De Coninck Management & Organisation, to provide fully-approved and certificated operator training courses. This programme is regarded as an essential step in ensuring consistently safe and efficient working practice, a topic Hyundai cares deeply about.

It is anticipated that, at this stage, some 300 trainees will pass through the centre each year, from Hyundai's 115-strong Europe-wide dealer network and its customers, to ensure a consistent and high standard of product knowledge for the expanding range of Hyundai products.

Hyundai is expanding and outgrowing itself
An indication of this expansion is the fact that HHIE expects to close 2007 with a turnover of approximately 285 million Euros, on the sale of over 5000 machines. In 2003, this figure was 98 million Euros, so this represents an increase in turnover of 220% in just four years. The high point was 2006 when a turnover increase of over 40% was recorded.

These impressive growth figures are reflected not only in the number of machines sold, but also in the number of components in stock, loading and unloading operations, and, of course, the number of employees. The present infrastructure on the Vossendaal industrial estate is gradually becoming too small, so HHIE has to look for opportunities to expand. Accommodating the Hyundai Training Centre at BEMT is the first step in this direction.

“Moving to a location in a different region is excluded at this stage”, says Marketing Manager Michel de
Weert. “Hyundai definitely feels at home in Geel and is particularly pleased with the quality and commitment of its employees, and the convenient transport connections with the Port of Antwerp (where the machines arrive from South Korea and where HHIE stocks most of its machines) and the rest of Europe. We are doing well here because we are in a good strategic and resourceful location”.

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