Hyundai Motor, Kia to resume U.S. plant operationsHyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors said Monday their plants in the United States will resume operations this week after taking thorough quarantine measures to guard against the new coronavirus.
Hyundai and Kia said they plan to restart production at their plants in Alabama and Georgia, respectively, on Monday, and flexibly operate the plants “depending on the Covid-19 developments and local market conditions,” a company spokesman said over the phone.
Hyundai has suspended the Alabama plant since March 18 when one of its local employees was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. Kia has halted the Georgia plant since March 30 due to a lack of engine supplies from Hyundai’s Alabama plant.
The maker of the Sonata sedan and the Santa Fe SUV has suspended most of its overseas plants to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and keep inventories at manageable levels. None of its domestic plants have been in operation since April 30.
It has seven domestic plants 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.
Hyundai’s India plant will also resume operations this week as the carmaker satisfied all the requirements presented by the local government to restart production, the company said.
The Chennai plant has suspended operations since March 22 in line with the local government’s guidance to stem the spread of Covid-19 across the country.
India announced a nationwide shutdown on March 25, affecting transportation, manufacturing plants and almost all e-commerce.
Kia, which is 34 percent owned by Hyundai, has eight domestic passenger vehicle plants 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.
It plans to suspend four out of the eight domestic factories for a certain period of time between April and May to manage inventory. Most of its overseas plants are not in operation, with the suspension of its Mexico plant recently extended.
But the two carmakers’ plants in China are in operation, though they have yet to return to full production.
From January to April, they sold a combined 339,254 vehicles in the United States, down 15 percent from 396,793 units on year.
“The Covid-19 global pandemic significantly disrupted the U.S. auto industry in April. We look forward to supporting our dealers and customers as cities, counties and states slowly reopen, and we begin returning to work after this tragic pandemic,” Randy Parker, the vice president in charge of national sales at Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement.