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March 26, 2020

Kia, Hankook suspend US production

One of the last to hold out, Kia Motors has now said it would suspend production at its US assembly plant until mid April to help prevent the spread of the COVID19 coronavirus.

By Olly Wehring

One of the last to hold out, Kia Motors has now said it would suspend production at its US assembly plant until mid April to help prevent the spread of the COVID19 coronavirus.

Production at the plant, in Georgia, had already been halted temporarily at the end of last week due to a lack of engines from the Hyundai plant in Alabama which had already ceased production as a result of the disease. 

Kia said activity at its plant, which has the capacity to produce 340,000 vehicles per year, will be suspended on 30 March until at least 13 April, during which time it will carry out quarantine and disinfection activities.

The plant produced 274,000 vehicles last year, including the K5 sedan and the Sorento and Telluride SUVs.

Hyundai ceased production in Alabama on 18 March until at least the end of the month after one of its employees tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. 

Meanwhile, South Korea's leading tyre manufacturer Hankook Tire & Technology announced the closure of its Tennessee plant between 30 March and 7 April to keep inventory manageable in response to vehicle plant closures across North America and Europe.

Earlier this week the company said it was suspending production at its tyre plant in Hungary in the same period.

A company spokesperson warned "we are considering suspending other plants as more carmakers are expected to suspend production due to virus fears".

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