Indian and South Korean automobile companies could join hands to develop a model mainly for bigger East Asian markets, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said here on Thursday.

Mr. Sharma said while India was fast emerging as a global design hub for small auto manufacture, Korean auto major like Hyundai have gained considerable popularity here. “Working together, Indian and Korean companies can develop a vehicle model which reaches out to the larger markets in the East Asian region,” he added.

Hyundai Automobiles through its plant in Chennai has expanded operations in the last decade and today is producing six lakh units a year.

It is the second largest car maker in the Indian market with 1.87 million units in 2010.

The company is also the largest exporter of cars from India.

Japan and China are the major countries in the East Asian region. Mr. Sharma met South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-Hoon on Thursday and reviewed India-Korea comprehensive trade pact, implemented in January last year.

He said India was all set to attract $250 billion in foreign direct investment in the next five years.

The target looks ambitious in the wake of India receiving cumulative FDI of $124 billion into equity in the last ten years.

This fiscal, FDI inflows stood at $14 billion during April-November 2010-11, a decline of 27 per cent over the same period last year.