Why Daimler Is Driving Hard Into Korea

The jewel in the Hyundai deal is a joint venture to build trucks

Jurgen E. Schrempp is on an Asian binge. In March, the acquisitive chairman of DaimlerChrysler paid $2.1 billion for 34% of Japanese car manufacturer Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Now, he's heading full-throttle into South Korea. On June 26, he agreed to pay $428 million for 10% of Hyundai Motor Co., with an option to increase that stake. Hyundai, which also owns Kia Motors Corp., controls 75% of the domestic car market, Asia's second-largest after Japan. Moreover, Hyundai has persuaded Schrempp to submit a joint bid for debt-laden Daewoo Motor Co.

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