Kia to suspend local plant on Covid-19 infections

Kia Corp, South Korea’s second-biggest carmaker, said on Sunday that it will suspend one of its eight domestic plants on Monday as dozens of workers at the factory were infected with Covid-19 in recent days.

The No. 1 Sohari plant’s suspension may be extended depending on the result of coronavirus tests on its workers, a company spokesman said.

The Sohari plant in Gwangmyeong, just south of Seoul, has an annual output capacity of 320,000 units and mainly produces the Stinger sports car, the K9 flagship sedan and the Carnival minivan, reports Yonhap news agency.

In May, Kia halted the No. 2 Sohari plant that makes the Stonic subcompact SUV for two days due to semiconductor shortages.

Kia has eight domestic plants in Korea and seven overseas ones — three in China and one each in the US, Slovakia, Mexico and India.

Their overall capacity is 3.84 million units.

Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia last week reported strong second-quarter earnings on a base effect and strong sales of their high-end SUVs.

In the first six months, Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world’s fifth-largest carmaker by sales, sold a combined 3.47 million vehicles, up 25 percent from 2.77 million units in the same period of last year.

They aim to sell a total of 7.08 million autos this year, 1.7 percent lower than the 7.2 million units they sold last year.