Hyundai Motor Co.'s domestic plant utilization rate topped 100 percent last year, the first time since 2015. The automaker also exceeded its production target.
Hyundai Motor rolled out 1,783,617 units at domestic plants in 2019, exceeding their capacity of 1,742,000 units and recording an operating rate of 102.39 percent, according to the Electronic Disclosure System of the Financial Supervisory Service. Hyundai Motor's domestic plant utilization rate exceeded 100 percent for the first time since hitting 104.4 percent in 2015.
The carmaker enjoyed strong sales of both new and existing models.
Its Korean plants are growing in importance in 2020. Most overseas factories including those in the United States and Europe have been locked down in the wake of the COVID-19 spread.
The pandemic caused concerns about a drop in automobile demand, but consumers actively responded to competitive new models. On the first day of its launch, the GV80 recorded nearly 15,000 contracts, more than half of its annual sales target, and the G80 hit 22,000 contracts in one day, a new record for the Genesis brand.
Hyundai Motor has to ramp up production as much as possible in order not to cause a delay in delivering the models. The carmaker currently operates a 48-hour-a-week system with 40 hours on weekdays and eight weekly overtime hours on Saturday. The number of working hours need to be increased to meet demand.
Earlier, Hyundai Motor also proposed its labor union a temporary plan to increase work hours to 60 hours per week. However, unionists are cautious about increasing working hours on the grounds that even if production increases, cars cannot be exported now. They also note that domestic factories may have to go into a shutdown when the COVID-19 crisis is prolonged. They say that extended working hours may spark off an inventory problem.