SOUTH KOREA: Hyundai denies US plant cut plans

By just-auto.com editorial team | 11 December 2007

Hyundai Motor was reported on Tuesday to have said it had no plans to cut production at its US plant next year, after a South Korean newspaper reported the automaker was looking at reducing output due to slower sales.

According to Reuters, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported earlier on Tuesday that Hyundai might cut output at its factory in Alabama, which has a capacity of 300,000 units a year, as US sales were sluggish amid the fallout from the sub-prime mortgage sector.

"We do not have plans to halt production at the US plant next year and will not cut output unless we face unexpected problems, such as more serious problems coming from the subprime sector," Hyundai spokesman Jake Jang told the news agency.

Reuters noted that in the fourth quarter, Hyundai decided to stop operations at the plant for 10 days as overall vehicle demand in the United States has been hit by a slowdown in the economy.

But Jang reportedly noted Hyundai is upbeat about US sales next year, having a target of 10% growth as it plans to launch new models such as its Genesis premium sedan and the NF Sonata Transform.

The company plans to release the Genesis, which is produced in South Korea, in June 2008 and will produce the new Sonata [in the US] from January, Reuters added.

Hyundai sold 420,522 cars and light trucks in the United States in the first 11 months of 2007, up 0.6% from the same period a year earlier, the report said.