Kia Motors informed its labour union in South Korea that it aims to suspend operations at three of its domestic plants as the coronavirus outbreak weighs on exports to Europe and the United States, a union official stated on Monday.
The union has not currently decided whether to accept the plan – under which operations would be postponed from April 23-29 – as negotiations over pay are ongoing, the official stated.
“Kia Motors is currently evaluating the suspension of some of its plants in Korea in response to declining global demand because of COVID-19. However, a decision has not been made at this time,” Kia Motors stated.
Kia Motors’ share price dropped 3.4% and that of affiliate Hyundai Motor dropped 2% in a wider market.
Hyundai Motor stopped a line producing its Tucson sport utility vehicle in the southeastern city of Ulsan for April 13-17.
Hyundai and Kia Motors have suspended operations at majority of their factories outside South Korea and China as the coronavirus spreads outside Asia.
Government restrictions on movement to reduce the spread are impacting consumer spending globally.
South Korea’s exports for the first 10 days of April dropped 18.6% from the same period a year ago, far less the 20.8% increase over March 1-10. Shipments of vehicles and vehicle components during the period dropped 7.1% and 31.8% respectively.
About 10,564 people in South Korea have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 222 people in the country.