New Pandemic Phase: Kia Considers Shutting Off the Domestic Taps

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
new pandemic phase kia considers shutting off the domestic taps

South Korea is often held up as an example of how to manage the coronavirus the right way. However, the country’s success in limiting the spread of COVID-19 hasn’t allowed it to escape the economic realities of the pandemic sweeping the world beyond its borders.

As countries around the globe close up shop, demand for the country’s vehicles has fallen precipitously. Kia Motors has a choice to make.

As reported by Reuters, Kia, despite having its manufacturing base located in a country that has largely avoided the disruptions seen elsewhere, might idle production at three assembly plants to bring output in line with reduced overseas demand.

It’s a move that represents a new phase of the pandemic: when countries that once idled production to get their own outbreak under control now have to shut things down to respond to outbreaks elsewhere. With Europe and North America in the grip of the virus and new vehicle sales plummeting to queasy new lows, there’s not much need for new product in overseas inventories.

On Monday, the automaker reportedly told its labor union of the plant shutdown plan, eyeing an idle period lasting from April 23rd to 29th. In classic South Korea fashion, however, the union’s apparently refusing to sign off on the action. There are pay negotiations ongoing.

“Kia Motors is currently reviewing the suspension of some of its plants in Korea in response to declining global demand due to COVID-19,” the automaker said in a statement. “However, a decision has not been made at this time.”

For what it’s worth, Kia Sales in the U.S. shot up 8 percent last year, buoyed by the immediate success of the midsize, U.S.-built Telluride crossover. It’s also worth noting that, even though the U.S. began shutting down businesses and ordering people indoors in the middle of March, Kia managed to outpace last year’s sales tally in the first quarter of 2020.

[Image: Kia Motors]

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  • Imnormlurnot Imnormlurnot on Apr 14, 2020

    From USA Today Feb 17, 2020: "Fauci doesn't want people to worry about coronavirus, the danger of which is "just minuscule." But he does want them to take precautions against the "influenza outbreak, which is having its second wave." From San Francisco KPIX TV Feb 24, 2020: “It’s exciting to be here, especially at this time,” said Pelosi as she walked surrounded by media and onlookers. “To be able to be unified with our community........ You should come to Chinatown. Precautions have been taken by our city. We know that there is concern about tourism all throughout the world, but we think it’s very safe to be in Chinatown. I hope that others will come,” said Pelosi..." From on March 2, 2020: "Cuomo emphasized that while coronavirus is concerning, it’s not as grave a threat as other illnesses such as ebola or influenza." "De Blasio reinforced the governor’s stance that the coronavirus leaves healthy New Yorkers with nothing to fear but that those with exhibiting flu-like symptoms and have a “nexus” to affected countries." From "The View" March 24, 2020: "Are you at all concerned, as Trump said, that we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself?” Haines asked. Biden noted in his reply that the COVID-19 cure “will make the problem worse, no matter what.” A good number of Dems didn't like the early steps Trump did take, like the China travel restrictions.

  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on Apr 15, 2020

    cprescott pick up a book. South Korea is 50 million people, that's a sixth of the US. quit watching Sean Hannity. It's making you dumb

  • ToolGuy VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.