China outbreak forces Hyundai to suspend flagship SUV production

SEOUL (AFP) – Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s largest automaker, suspended the domestic production of its flagship sport utility vehicle this weekend as a result of a supply disruption caused by the deadly virus outbreak in China.

The deadly virus that first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has resulted in 259 deaths and spread to more than two dozen other countries.

Hyundai’s decision was made following factory closures in China that have led to shortages of supplies, including the complete electrical wiring system of a vehicle, the Korean automaker said.

“We have cancelled overtime factory hours that had been scheduled for Saturday and Sunday to produce our Palisade vehicle,” Jin Cha, a Hyundai spokesperson, told AFP yesterday.

The Palisade SUV was the only vehicle that had been scheduled for production this weekend, she added.

The firm is “carefully monitoring the ongoing situation” to make further decisions to cope with the supply disruption, the spokesperson added.

The spread of the respiratory illness has prompted businesses to shut down in China, and airlines around the world have cancelled flights, prompting concerns about the hit to China’s economy and beyond.

Markets have struggled in recent days as the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the virus, with analysts concerned about its impact on world economic growth.