Kia Motors has suspended operations at two vehicle assembly plants located near Seoul until next week after a number of COVID-19 infections were confirmed among its staff.

The automaker confirmed 13 coronavirus cases had been traced back to its two plants in Gwangmyeong, including four family members of their workers. 

The two plants together employ close to 6,000 people and have a combined production capacity of 320,000 vehicles per year, including the K9 flagship sedan model, the Stinger coupe, the Carnival MPV, the Stonic SUV and the Pride small car.

The plants had been closed since Wednesday 16 September after the COVID-19 cases were discovered among their production workers.

Kia said it would monitor the situation closely over the weekend for reports of any new infections before deciding next week when to resume operations.

Kia operates eight plants in South Korea and seven overseas with combined annual capacity of 3.84m vehicles.

Renault Samsung Motors, the Renault subsidiary, was also considering suspending operations at its Busan plant in South Korea for several days next month due to falling global demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its global sales had fallen by 27% to 84,158 units in the first eight months of 2020 from 114,705 units a year earlier.