Beijing Hyundai, a joint venture between Hyundai Motor and BAIC Motor, resumed the operations of its four plants in China on Wednesday, ending a weeklong suspension triggered by delayed payments to a local supplier.
Since last week, Hyundai had halted assembly lines at its three plants in Beijing and a fourth facility in Changzhou. The carmaker was forced to stop the assembly lines temporarily, as a local partner declined to supply auto parts over delayed payments for its products.
Beijing Hyundai has failed to pay around 18.9 billion won ($16.8 million) to a local supplier of plastic fuel tanks, according to reports. However, the supplier, Auto Inergy Beijing, has resumed its delivery of the parts, allowing the carmaker to normalize operations.
“The plants have resumed operations, as the Chinese supplier began shipping the component. The company (Beijing Hyundai) is in talks with the Chinese partner to resolve the payment issue,” said a Hyundai official in Seoul.
The Chinese office of the automaker is responsible for the payment, not its head office in Seoul.
The branch in China was reportedly having financial trouble due to plummeting sales there over growing anti-Korean sentiment as well as speculation of Beijing taking retaliatory actions against South Korean companies operating in the country.
In the January-July period, Hyundai sold a total of 351,292 vehicles in China, down 41 percent from 592,785 units a year earlier.
It was the first time that Hyundai suspended all of its production operation, since it entered China in 2002. The four plants in Beijing and Changzhou are capable of producing a combined 1.35 million vehicles a year.
Hyundai recently completed the construction of its fifth factory in Chongqing. But the plant, which is capable of producing 300,000 units a year, has not begun operation yet.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)