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Hyundai and Kia Extend Suspension of Plants Due to Wiring Harness Shortages
Parts Supply from China Unstable
Hyundai and Kia Extend Suspension of Plants Due to Wiring Harness Shortages
  • By Michael Herh
  • February 18, 2020, 10:26
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Wiring harnesses for automobiles

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors have decided to extend the suspension of their factories just one day after their operation has been resumed after a shutdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A shortage of wiring harnesses from China has not been totally resolved yet.

Hyundai Motor said on Feb. 17 that its Ulsan Plant 1 will be shut down again from Feb. 18-20 due to wiring harness shortages. The company is considering suspending Ulsan Plant 2 for one day on Feb. 21. "We are making efforts to secure wiring harnesses," a Hyundai Motor official said. "We will start normal operations on Feb. 21 by securing an enough volume."

Hyundai Motor shut down its plants sequentially from Feb. 4 due to a shortage of wiring harnesses as the Chinese New Year holidays were extended. Eventually, all Hyundai Motor plants in Korea stopped their operations on Feb. 7. The company began to operate the plants one by one and all Ulsan plants have been restarted on Feb. 17.

Kia Motors will also extend the suspension of its plants. Kia Motors’ Sohari Plant in Gwangmyung City, Gyeonggi Province is scheduled to halt its operation until Feb. 19. Last week, the automaker decided to shut down the plant once but decided to close it down again because of a lack of wiring harnesses. Sohari Plant was scheduled to resume operations on Feb. 14 in accordance with a labor-management agreement. Hwaseong Plant, which produces the K series, resumed production on Feb. 11.

Korean automakers had no choice but to halt their plants again due to the low utilization rates of parts factories in China. Although China's wiring harness makers restarted the operation of their plants on Feb. 15, only 10 percent of workers have reported for work. After the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, employees of Chinese parts factories should go to work normally, but their work report rates are low due to concerns about COVID-19 infections.

As a result, auto plants in Korea are forced to adjust their production speeds. In particular, sometimes, their conveyor belts loitered due to a shortage of parts.

SsangYong Motor's Pyeongtaek Plant resumed operation on Feb. 13 after a nine-day shutdown. Renault Samsung Motors suspended its plant for four days from Feb. 11 to 14 and resumed working on Feb. 15.

In the meantime, GM Korea's Bupyeong Plant 1 will suspend its operation until Feb. 18. The plant produces GM's new model “Trailblazer.” The Bupyeong Plant 2 which produces the compact SUV “Trax” is in operation.