Kia Motors said it was planning to suspend production at three of its nine vehicle assembly plants in South Korea later this month due to the sharp fall in global vehicle demand caused by the COVID19 coronavirus.

This followed an announcement by Hyundai Motor earlier this month it planned to suspend production at its assembly plant in Ulsan this week due to falling overseas demand.

Kia said it planned to halt production at two factories in Gwangmyeong, south of the capital city Seoul, and one in Gwangju for one week starting on 23 April 2020.

These three plants are responsible for producing most of Kia Motors' export models, including the Sportage and Soul SUVs.

Overall exports of built up vehicles from South Korea fell by 17.6% to 479,388 units in the first three of months of 2020.

The two companies have also suspended production at most of their overseas plants in the last two months, including in India, China, Europe and US, as global economic activity continues to plunge.

Last week Hyundai and Kia said they planned to prolong the suspension of their US plants until the end of April to adjust to falling demand in that local market.

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