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Hyundai, Kia partially resume domestic production amid virus woes

All News 09:26 May 06, 2020

SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. said Wednesday they have partially resumed operations at their domestic plants as the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect the automobile industry.

The corporate duo suspended their domestic plants from April 30 through Tuesday to keep inventories at manageable levels amid COVID-19 worries.

Hyundai will extend the suspension of the No. 3 plant in Ulsan, 414 kilometers southeast of Seoul, until Sunday. Kia will extend the suspension of the No. 2 plant in Gwangju, 330 km southwest of Seoul, and the Sohari, Gwangmyeong plant near Seoul, until Sunday and once again from May 22-25, according to the companies.

"The other domestic plants have restarted production to make delayed deliveries of ordered vehicles," a Hyundai spokesman said by phone.

This undated file photo shows the headquarters of Hyundai Motor Group in southern Seoul, South Korea. (Yonhap)

Hyundai has seven domestic plants and 10 overseas plants -- four in China and one each in the United States, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Russia, India and Brazil. Their combined capacity reaches 5.5 million vehicles.

Kia, which is 34 percent owned by Hyundai, has eight domestic passenger vehicle plants and seven overseas ones -- three in China and one each in the U.S., Slovakia, Mexico and India. Their overall capacity is 3.84 million units.

On the overseas front, Hyundai and Kia restarted production at their plants in Alabama and Georgia, respectively, on Monday (U.S. time) and plan to flexibly operate the plants "depending on the COVID-19 developments and local market conditions.

Hyundai has suspended the Alabama plant since March 18 when one of its local employees was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. Kia has halted the Georgia plant since March 30 due to lack of engine supplies from Hyundai's Alabama plant.

Hyundai's India plant will also resume operations this week as the carmaker satisfied all the requirements presented by the local government to restart production, the spokesman said.

The Chennai plant has suspended operations since March 22 in line with the local government's guidance to stem the spread of COVID-19 across the country.

India announced a nationwide shutdown on March 25, affecting transportation, manufacturing plants and almost all e-commerce.

But the two carmakers' plants in China are in operation, though they have yet to return to full production.

From January to April, they sold a combined 339,254 vehicles in the U.S., down 15 percent from 396,793 units in the year-ago period.


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