Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second-biggest carmaker, said Monday it has suspended two of its domestic plants for four days, as some of its workers were confirmed to have contracted the new coronavirus.
Kia halted the operations of two plants in Gwangmyeong, just south of Seoul, from Wednesday through Monday, with all of the 6,000 employees at the plants staying at home, a company spokesman said over the phone.
"As of noon Monday, 11 assembly line workers were confirmed to have been infected with the virus. The number of related cases reached 18, as their family members and acquaintances were also infected with the disease," he said.
The company said it will decide on when to resume the plants' operations depending on the results of the virus tests on the employees and health authorities' guidance.
Kia produces the K9 flagship sedan, the Stinger sports car and the Carnival minivan at the No. 1 plant in Gwangmyeong and the Pride subcompact and the Stonic subcompact sport utility vehicle at the No. 2 plant.
The company is expected to suffer production losses if the plant's suspension continues for several days. The two plants in Gwangmyeong have a combined capacity of 320,000 units a year.
It has received about 40,000 preorders for the all-new Carnival, which was launched last month.
Kia has eight plants in Korea -- two in Gwangmyeong, three in Hwaseong and three in Gwangju -- and seven overseas ones -- three in China and one each in the United States, Slovakia, Mexico and India. Their overall capacity is 3.84 million units. (Yonhap)