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(LEAD) Kia to resume operation of virus-hit local plant Tuesday

Industry 21:44 September 21, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline and lead; ADDS spokesman's comment in 3rd para)

SEOUL, Sept. 21 (Yonhap) -- Kia Motors Corp. said Monday it will resume operations at one of two domestic plants that were suspended after some of its workers were infected with the coronavirus.

Kia halted the operations of two plants in Gwangmyeong, just south of Seoul, from Wednesday through Monday, with all of the 6,000 employees at the plants staying at home, a company spokesman said over the phone.

"The company will resume operation of the No. 1 plant (in Gwangmyeong) tomorrow under health authorities' guidance and decide when to resume operation of the No. 2 plant by Tuesday morning," he said.

This file photo shows Kia Motors Corp.'s plant south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows Kia Motors Corp.'s plant south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

As of noon Monday, 11 assembly line workers were confirmed to have been infected with the virus. The number of related cases reached 18, as their family members and acquaintances were also infected with the disease, he said.

Kia produces the K9 flagship sedan, the Stinger sports car and the Carnival minivan at the No. 1 plant in Gwangmyeong and the Pride subcompact and the Stonic subcompact sport utility vehicle at the No. 2 plant.

The company is expected to suffer production losses if the plant's suspension continues for several days. The two plants in Gwangmyeong have a combined capacity of 320,000 units a year.

It has received about 40,000 preorders for the all-new Carnival, which was launched last month.

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.

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