Hyundai Motor suffers more production delays

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Hyundai Motor suffers more production delays

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to impede the flow of auto parts manufactured in China, Hyundai Motor has again halted production at one of its five main auto assembly plants in Ulsan.

Korea’s largest automaker said Tuesday that it is closing its No. 1 assembly plant in Ulsan from Tuesday to Thursday, which will delay production of Hyundai Motor’s Veloster and Kona subcompact SUVs.

Although the company’s auto parts supplier reopened its factories in China, their operating rate remained low as fewer Chinese workers returned to work.

In an attempt to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further, the Chinese government has been forcing workers who travelled for the Lunar New Year holiday to self-quarantine for two weeks. Chinese local governments have also ordered extra days of leave for workers, which also dragged down the operating and attendance rates for Chinese factories.

Hyundai Motor said the four other assembly plants will remain in operation for now, although the company is planning to close its No. 2 plant on Friday due to an auto parts shortage. The single-day closure is expected to cause production delays for Hyundai Motor’s top-selling large-size SUVs, the Genesis GV80 and the Palisade.

The latest shutdown comes just five days after Hyundai Motor brought its plants in Ulsan back online.

Some of its plants were closed Feb. 5-12, as extended Lunar New Year holidays from the coronavirus outbreak prompted longer-than-expected closures at Chinese factories. Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors halted all production at their plants in Korea on Feb. 7 and gradually started resuming operations last week.

The supply shortage of auto parts from China is causing disruptions to other local automakers as well.

GM Korea is closing its Bupyeong factory in Incheon on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is causing production and customer delivery delays for its well-received Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV. Renault Samsung Motors also closed its factory in Busan for three days earlier this month, endangering its plan to launch the new XM3 SUV.

BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]

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