By Joyce Lee and Hyunjoo Jin
SEOUL, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor plans to gradually suspend production at its South Korean factories from Tuesday, as a virus outbreak in China has disrupted supplies of vehicle components, a Hyundai Motor union official said.
Such a move would make Hyundai the first major global automaker to suspend production outside China due to supply chain disruptions caused by the outbreak of the virus, which has led to more than 420 deaths.
Most of Hyundai’s South Korean factories will be fully idled from Feb. 7 to Feb. 10 or Feb. 11, the official, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter, said.
The idling, which had been discussed by Hyundai management since Monday, was due to a shortage of auto parts called wiring harnesses, auto industry officials told Reuters earlier. The automaker did not keep a large inventory of the part, a majority of which was produced in two South Korean firms’ China production lines.
A Hyundai Motor spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.
South Korea imported $1.56 billion worth of auto parts from China in 2019, up from $1.47 billion in 2018, according to trade data. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Joyce Lee; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Muralikumar Anantharaman)