June 14, 2019 11:55
Kia will shut its first factory in China at the end of this month. The carmaker said Thursday that the plant will be leased to the Yueda Group, which is the local partner in Kia's Chinese operations.
As Kia continued to struggle in China, Hyundai made a decision earlier this year to close down Hyundai's first Beijing plant and Kia's first Yancheng factory.
Built in 1999, Yancheng was Kia's first factory in China with a production capacity of 140,000 cars a year. It will switch to manufacturing electric cars for a subsidiary of Yueda.
Some 1,000 staff will move to its second factory there. What happens to Hyundai's Beijing plant is as yet uncertain.
After their sales plummeted due to a Chinese boycott in 2017, Hyundai and Kia never managed to recover there. Their combined sales stood at 1.79 million cars in 2016, but the figure dropped to 1.18 million in 2018, and from January to May this year they sold only 343,000 cars, down another 22 percent from a year ago.
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