Renault says China, South Korea plants restarting after virus shutdown

General view of the Renault automaker company headquarters is seen in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France November 21, 2018. The French automaker today said it was resuming production at two factories in China and South Korea. — Reuters pic
General view of the Renault automaker company headquarters is seen in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France November 21, 2018. The French automaker today said it was resuming production at two factories in China and South Korea. — Reuters pic

PARIS, March 31 — French automaker Renault said today it was resuming production at two factories in China and South Korea after they were shut down as authorities tried to limit the coronavirus outbreak.

“All of the group’s factories are currently shut down, except for the factories in China and South Korea, which have resumed operations or are in the process of doing so,” the company said in a statement.

Renault’s site in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, was taken offline in late January. It has an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles.

The Busan factory in South Korea, which turns out 216,000 cars a year, was stopped on February 7.

Renault has already warned of possible factory closures as it races to cut costs amid the coronavirus crisis, after posting a net loss of €141 million (RM676 million) for 2019 — its first year in the red in a decade.

Unit sales fell 3.4 per cent last year to 3.75 million vehicles.

The French government, which owns a 15 per cent stake in Renault, has said it will be “vigilant” over plant closures or job cuts. — AFP

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