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(LEAD) Kia to extend plant suspension in S. Korea

Autos 17:47 May 27, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS Hyundai's assembly line suspension plan in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, May 27 (Yonhap) -- Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-biggest carmaker by sales, said Wednesday it will suspend two domestic plants for several days next month due to lockdowns in major markets.

Kia plans to suspend its No. 1 plant in Gwangmyeong, just south of Seoul, from June 1-2 and 8-9 and its No. 2 Gwangmyeong plant from June 1-3 and 8-10, a company spokesman said.

The No. 1 plant churns out the Carnival minivan, the Stinger sports car and the flagship K9 sedan, while the No. 2 plant produces the Pride compact and the Stonic subcompact sport utility vehicle. The two plants were halted from April 27-29 due to the same reasons.

This undated file photo shows Kia Motors' plant in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)

The maker of the K5 sedan and the Sorento SUV said Tuesday it will extend the suspension of its No. 2 plant in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, until June 5 after suspending production two times since April 27.

It already suspended the plant from April 27 to May 8 and plans to halt the plant from May 25-29 to keep inventories at manageable levels.

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

Kia suspended most of its overseas plants from March and resumed most of their operations early this month to control inventories. All of its overseas plants are in operation as its Mexico plant reopened on Tuesday.

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 United States, 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.

Hyundai Motor Co, which owns a 34 percent stake in Kia, also said it will halt three assembly lines at its No. 3 and 4 plants in Ulsan, 414 kilometers southeast of Seoul, from June 1-5 and 11-12.

The vehicles to be affected by the planned suspension are the Venue subcompact car, the Ioniq electric and hybrid cars and the Porter truck, Hyundai said.

Hyundai said it is considering halting assembly lines at its No. 1 plant, which rolls out the Kona subcompact SUV and Veloster subcompact.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
(END)

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