South Korea's major automakers on Monday began cutting production after reporting weak sales in November.

Hyundai Motor told Agence France-Presse (AFP) it had started cutting daily overtime at all domestic plants, the first such company-wide cuts since the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

The move will cut 20,000 vehicles, about 13% of Hyundai Motor's average domestic monthly production of 150,000.  It had earlier halted weekend overtime.

Affiliate Kia Motors said one assembly line was suspended from Monday and overtime ended on two other lines.

The General Motors'-DAT unit - which produces Chevrolet brand cars for export and Daewoos for local sale - has announced a one-month shutdown of its main plant at Bupyeong from Monday to 4 January. This was the first such shutdown since GM took over Daewoo in 2002, AFP noted. Production at other plants will be suspended for two weeks from 22 December to 4 January.

The carmakers said assembly lines most affected were those producing fuel-guzzling SUVs, RVs or large sedans, whose sales had been much slower than energy-efficient compact models.

According to AFP, Hyundai reported its November sales fell 1.6% year-on-year to 234,211 units. Kia's November sales dropped 3.0% year-on-year to 133,507. GM Daewoo said its November sales plunged 28.8% from a year earlier to 62,256 vehicles.

South Korea's two other auto manufacturers - Renault Samsung Motors and Chinese-owned SsangYong Motor - cut production earlier, the report added.