SEOUL– A Hyundai Motor Co.’s plant in China was forced to suspend operations Tuesday as a German company refused to supply auto components due to payment problems, the South Korean carmaker said.
Hyundai’s plant in Cangzhou, Hebei District, was brought to a halt as the supplier has stopped delivering air intake components due to delayed payments, a company spokesman said over the phone.
“We are in talks with the German partner so work can resume at the No. 4 plant (in China),” he said without elaborating on the value of the delayed payments.
The news sent Hyundai Motor 1.07 percent lower to 138,500 won as of 1:40 p.m., underperforming the broader KOSPI’s 0.31 percent loss. Hyundai shares opened up 0.71 percent at 141,000 won.
On Wednesday last week, Hyundai’s four plants in China resumed operations after a weeklong output suspension due to parts supply problems.
Then, a local supplier stopped providing plastic fuel tanks to the plants — one in Cangzhou and three in Beijing — after it reportedly did not receive 18.9 billion won (US$17 million) from Hyundai.
The four plants have a combined capacity of 1.35 million vehicles. Hyundai has recently built its fifth plant in China with a capacity of 300,000 units in Chongqing. This plant is currently undergoing test production.
This year, the maker of the Sonata sedan and Santa Fe SUV has suffered steep declines in China sales as a diplomatic row has escalated between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system, called THAAD, in South Korea.
Beijing has explicitly opposed the THAAD deployment, arguing the system could be used to spy on its military though Seoul has said it is purely aimed at countering missile threats from North Korea.
In the January-July period, Hyundai sold 351,292 vehicles in China, down 41 percent from 592,785 units a year earlier.
Source: Yonhap News Agency