Addition of night shift a bright spot for Ssangyong

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Addition of night shift a bright spot for Ssangyong

Ssangyong Motor said yesterday it will revive night-shift production for the first time in four years at its plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, due to increased demand.

The nation’s smallest automaker, controlled by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra, said daytime and nocturnal shifts will start Monday.

Ssangyong hasn’t had night shifts since 2009 after going through court receivership and massive layoffs.

It previously operated production from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but the graveyard shift will be added from 9 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, 454 employees who were reinstated last month after three years of unpaid leave, will also be placed at the third assembly line of the Pyeongtaek plant and begin their shifts.

The third line manufactures Rexton W, Korando Sport and export-only models like Kyron and Actyon.

Ssangyong’s Pyeongtaek plant has an annual production capacity of 250,000 units, but in recent years its volumes were cut nearly in half.

Ssangyong’s business has improved of late. Although, the automaker is still in red, its first-quarter net loss narrowed from a year ago.

According to its regulatory filing last month, Ssangyong reported a net loss of 9.7 billion won ($8.8 million) in the first quarter, a big improvement from 31.5 billion won last year.

Ssangyong’s sales have been cruising, led by its popular Korando series, which includes the Korando C, Korando Sports and Korando Turismo. The automaker sold 12,607 units worldwide in April, its best performance since October 2006.

Ssangyong’s domestic sales have showed an upward trend for four consecutive months, selling 5,115 vehicles in April, 27.7 percent better than the same month last year.

The company registered an increase of 24.7 percent in exports from a year earlier, exceeding 7,000 vehicles last month. It was attributed to an upswing in Central and South American markets and strong sales of the Korando C in Russia.

Ssangyong hopes to sell 149,300 vehicles this year, which would be nearly 30,000 more than last year.

By Joo Kyung-don []
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