South Korean manufacturers, led by carmakers, appear to be beginning to feel the pinch of the rapid spread of the new coronavirus, with possible disruption to production and plant operations around the corner, industry sources said Friday.
Hyundai Motor Co. and other major manufacturers have been operating plants in China to tap deeper into the world’s No. 2 economy, but their efforts to shore up their lackluster performance in recent years may be eclipsed by the outbreak of the novel virus, they have said.
The country’s five carmakers — Hyundai, Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. — and two leading semiconductor firms — Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc. — said their operations and production may face difficulties if the coronavirus situation goes from bad to worse.
Leoni Wiring Systems Korea, Inc., the South Korean unit of German auto parts maker Leoni AG, has recently decided to suspend operations at its wiring plant in China until Feb. 9. The decision will soon affect the production of vehicles at GM Korea, Renault Samsung and SsangYong.
The three carmakers said they are checking their inventories and looking for ways to secure the parts from other suppliers if things unfold unfavorably.