Hyundai plant extends production halt into May

Hyundai plant extends production halt into May
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama will push a restart to production back into the month of May. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - One of the River Region’s largest employers said Wednesday it will again push back a restart to operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, which builds vehicles at a sprawling plant in Montgomery County, says production will remain idle for several more weeks.

After several delays, HMMA had anticipated an April 13 restart, but that date has now been tentatively set for May 4.

“HMMA’s decision to extend production downtime is in the best interest of protecting the health and well-being of team members and communities, and to align vehicle production with current consumer demand,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The decision comes days after the plant notified its nearly 3,000 employees that the Alabama Department of Public Health had confirmed one of their team members had died from complications as a result of the respiratory illness.

Idled employees will continue to receive medical, dental and vision benefits during the interruption. As for pay, the company is encouraging affected workers to either choose to use their available vacation time for compensation or seek unemployment benefits from the state labor department.

HMMA originally halted production on March 18 when an employee tested positive for the illness.

The plant’s extended closure means vehicle production will be reduced by about 21,000 units, according to plant spokesman Robert Burns.

Recently released quarterly sales reports from Hyundai Motors America showed the pandemic’s economic effects on the company, which saw a 43 percent sales decline in March compared to the same month a year earlier.

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