Hyundai will gradually suspend car production at its South Korean factories this month, following disruptions to the supply chain caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to reports.
A spokesperson for the Korean firm told Reuters that most of Hyundai’s seven South Korean factories will be shut down from 7 February for three or four days.
The closures have been blamed on a shortage of wiring harnesses, which are imported from an external supplier in China. Hyundai said a worker at the supplier’s factory had tested positive for coronavirus, prompting a shutdown.
Hyundai’s South Korean factories are responsible for 40% of the firm’s global output and are largely dependent on parts imported from China. The firm was forced to pause production of the new Palisade SUV earlier this week due to parts shortages.
In a statement sent to US site Bloomberg, a Hyundai representative said: “The company is reviewing various measures to minimise the disruption of its operations, including seeking alternative suppliers in other regions.
“Hyundai Motor will closely monitor developments in China and take all necessary measures to ensure the prompt normalisation of its operations.”
Since the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in China, several manufacturers, including Ford, Nissan and Tesla, have been forced to suspend their domestic activities in an attempt to halt the spread of the illness.
French car giant PSA Group’s Chinese arm, Dongfeng, is headquartered in Wuhan, the region where the virus was first detected.
Hyundai has become the first manufacturer to stop production outside of China in reaction to the crisis.
There is no official word yet on which models have been directly affected by the decision, nor whether Hyundai’s sibling brand Kia will take similar action.