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Kia to further extend Gwangju production halt in S. Korea

Autos 11:35 May 25, 2020

SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-biggest carmaker by sales, on Monday said it extended the suspension of its domestic plant by one week due to lockdowns in major markets.

Kia will continue the suspension of the No. 2 plant in Gwangju, 330 kilometers southwest of Seoul, until June 5 after suspending production two times since April 27, a company spokesman said.

The maker of the K5 sedan and the Sorento SUV suspended the plant from April 27 to May 8 and plans to halt the plant from May 25-29 to control inventories amid the new coronavirus impact on the automobile industry.

This file photo taken Feb. 14, 2020, shows Kia's No. 2 Gwangju plant, 330 kilometers southwest of Seoul. (Yonhap)

The No. 2 Gwangju plant produces the Sportage SUV and the Soul boxcar, but coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the United States and Europe blocked vehicle exports from South Korea, the spokesman said.

Kia suspended most of its overseas plants since March and resumed their operations early this month to control inventories. Its Mexico plant has yet to restart production.

From January to April, Kia's sales fell 11 percent to 782,901 vehicles from 877,839 units in the year-ago period.

Kia has seven overseas factories -- three in China and one each in the U.S., Slovakia, Mexico and India -- and eight local ones -- two in Gwangmyeong, three in Hwaseong and three in Gwangju. Their overall capacity is 3.84 million units.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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