April 1, 2020 / 7:01 AM / 2 months ago

Hyundai Motor's sales plunge by a fifth in March as coronavirus hits demand, output

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO:The Hyundai booth displays the company logo at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

SEOUL (Reuters) - Global sales for Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) tumbled 21% in March to an 11 year-low for the month as the coronavirus pandemic batters demand and forced several of its overseas plants to suspend production.

The South Korean automaker reported provisional global sales of 308,503 vehicles for March.

Hyundai Motor closed its Montgomery, Alabama, assembly plant last month after an employee there tested positive for the disease, and also suspended production at plants in the Czech Republic and India over the virus.

Plants in South Korea are, however, running at close to full capacity.

Credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service said in a report last month it expects global sales for the auto industry to slide 14% this year. It placed the ratings of Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp (000270.KS) on review for a possible downgrade.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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