SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Korea Bizwire) – Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp., South Korea’s two biggest carmakers, will temporarily shut down their plants in the United States to avoid any damages from Hurricane Irma, the companies said Monday.
Hyundai Motor will suspend operation of its Alabama plant for two days from 4:45 a.m. on Sept. 12 (U.S. time) and Kia Motors will also stop operation of its Georgia plant for one day from 6:45 a.m. on Sept. 11, a company spokesman said over the phone.
The plants will be suspended as the carmakers seek to prevent any damages of their production facilities from Irma. The suspension is expected to result in 3,000 vehicles in production losses, the spokesman said.
If the period of the suspension is extended beyond a couple of days, it will have an impact on the carmakers’ sales in the world’s most important automobile market, industry people said.
In the January-July period, Hyundai and Kia sold a combined 752,562 vehicles, down 10 percent from 837,359 units a year earlier. They have suffered a decline in U.S. sales due to a lack of new models, particularly SUVs.
Hurricane Irma, ranked as one of the most powerful hurricanes ever documented for the Atlantic, has already left at least 28 people dead as it raged through the Carribbean en route to Florida. On Sunday, the storm claimed its first U.S. fatality.