LG Chem responds to criticism of U.S. media

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LG Chem responds to criticism of U.S. media

LG Chem, the world’s largest battery maker, said yesterday weak demand for vehicle batteries has led to a delay in the start of its American lithium-ion battery plant’s commercial operation, denying U.S. media reports that the factory is not run effectively.

Citing a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Special Report, the Washington Post and other media reported Wednesday that the factory in Holland, Michigan, into which $142 million of American taxpayer money was injected, is allowing workers to play games and watch movies, failing to produce batteries and create jobs.

In October, U.S. media carried similar reports. The DOE report also said LG Chem has decided not to shift production from its plant in Korea to Michigan.

LG Chem said in a statement that less-than-expected demand for batteries in the United States is the main reason its plant in Ochang, 95 kilometers (59 miles) south of Seoul, produces batteries for General Motors.

“Factory employees have been trained for operation and maintenance of the plant before its commercial production. They are not left idle,” LG Chem said.

LG Chem said it has hired 150 employees and hoped to employ more if demand for car batteries increases. The DOE report said LG Chem is supposed to create more than 440 jobs.

LG Chem originally planned to start commercial production at the Michigan plant in June or July 2012, but sluggish sales of the Chevrolet Volt delayed the start of commercial production at the plant.

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