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Hyundai, Kia to extend suspension of S. Korean plants

Autos 18:14 June 08, 2020

SEOUL, June 8 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate, Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's two biggest carmakers, said Monday they will extend the suspension of their domestic plants due to disrupted exports amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

Kia will suspend the No. 2 plant in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, from June 25 to 30 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive down overseas demand, a company spokesman said.

The maker of the K5 sedan and the Sorento SUV suspended the No. 2 Gwangju plant three times between April 27 and June 5 to control inventories.

This photo taken on May 25, 2020, shows Kia Motors' No. 2 plant in Gwangju, 330 km south 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 have blocked vehicle exports from South Korea.

Kia suspended its No. 1 plant in Gwangmyeong, just south of Seoul, from June 1-2 and is halting the plant from Monday to Tuesday. The company halted its No. 2 Gwangmyeong plant from June 1-3 and plans to halt it from Monday to Wednesday.

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 suspended from April 27-29 due to the same reasons.

Hyundai halted some assembly lines at its No. 3 and 4 plants in Ulsan, 414 km southeast of Seoul, from June 1-5 and plans to suspend the lines from Wednesday to Friday.

Hyundai's No. 1 plant in Ulsan was also suspended on Friday and Monday, the spokesman said.

Hyundai's affected vehicles include the Kona subcompact SUV, Veloster subcompact, Venue subcompact, the Ioniq electric and hybrid cars.

Hyundai and Kia suspended most of their overseas plants from March amid virus fears. All of their overseas plants returned to operations early this month, though not in full production.

From January to May, Hyundai's sales fell 26 percent to 1,288,629 vehicles from 1,748,911 units a year earlier. Kia's fell 15 percent to 949,860 from 1,116,782 during the same period.

Hyundai has seven domestic plants -- five in Ulsan, one in Asan and one in Jeonju -- 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 has eight plants in Korea -- two in Gwangmyeong, three in Hwaseong and three in Gwangju -- and seven overseas ones -- three in China and one each in the United States, Slovakia, Mexico and India. Their overall capacity is 3.84 million units.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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