Hyundai Cuts Jobs, Reviews Production in China

January 28, 2019 at 12:20 AM

Hyundai Motor Co.’s joint venture with BAIC Motor Corp. is trimming its workforce and pondering production cuts as output at its factories in China slumps to 50% of capacity.

Hyundai says the venture is accepting an undisclosed number of early retirements from employees as it ponders how to optimize the 1.65 million units of annual production capacity available at its Chinese facilities. The company shut down all four facilities for a week in March to trim excess supplies.

The venture’s sales volume in China peaked at 1.14 million vehicles in 2016. Demand plunged 31% to 785,400 units in 2017, mainly because of slumping sales fostered by China’s objection to South Korea’s deployment of a U.S.-supplied defensive missile system.

Hyundai’s deliveries in China grew by only 5,300 units last year. The overall car market shrank 6% to 22.7 million vehicles, its first year-on-year retreat in more than 20 years. Some analysts believe new-car demand in China will slump another 7% this year.