Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest carmaker, suspended its factory in Alabama, U.S., on Wednesday. The shutdown was due to an employee testing positive for the new coronavirus.
The move came after industry peers in the United States temporarily halted their operations to curb the fast-spreading potentially deadly COVID-19. As a result, the industry fears that the disruption to production would deal severe blows to the company’s suppliers.
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) said that the plant shutdown began on Wednesday. The suspension would include all areas, for all shifts.
The automobile manufacturer stated that it notified the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) of the situation. Additionally, the company said that the worker who tested positive is currently not on-site and has been quarantined.
HMMA already deployed additional sanitation measures through the entire factory following ADPH’s protocols for disinfection. The company added that it would further consult with ADPH and the CDC for additional measures if needed.
A Hyundai Motor Co. official said that they would confer with the United States quarantine authorities when it could resume operations in the facility.
Partners such as Hyundai Glovis and Hyundai Steel expressed their concern with the disruption of plant operations as they expect to also suffer a blow due to the decrease in demand resulting from the virus outbreak.
Hyundai Motor’s plants in Europe are operating normally; however, future operations remain uncertain. Other major automakers are also suspending their U.S. and European operations concerns over the spread of the COVID-19.
Other North America-based automakers decided to shut down their plants in response to the outbreak. The three biggest carmakers, General Motors, Ford Motor, and Fiat Chrysler, stated that they would temporarily close their factories after receiving mounting pressure from labor unions.
Toyota, Honda, and Nissan also shut down their North American plants. The world’s largest automaker, Volkswagen, also announced on Tuesday that it temporarily closed a number of its plants located in Europe.