South Korean Automakers Suspend Production

The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association said it was drawing up a list of proposals for regulatory changes to boost the industry.

South Korean carmakers are offering discounts to cut stockpiles or suspending production as they and their global counterparts face a dismal winter. Local leader Hyundai Motor last week stopped overtime and weekend work until the end of December, despite its respectable showing so far this year. Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors, which together account for 70% of domestic car sales, are offering discounts to reduce vehicle stockpiles.

SsangYong Motor, which is owned by China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, said it has been in talks with its union about a possible suspension of production next month.

The local unit of French automaker Renault said last week it plans to cut jobs through an early retirement program as part of the parent company's move to reduce costs.

The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association said it was drawing up a list of proposals for regulatory changes to boost the industry.

Carmakers have asked the government to cut taxes on small cars, scrap environmental protection charges on diesel vehicles, and help promote sales through instalment purchase plans.

They also want the government to provide more research and development support for energy-efficient hybrid vehicles.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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