S. Korea carmaker to cut output over Japan quake

SEOUL, March 30, 2011 (AFP) - The South Korean unit of French automaker Renault said Wednesday it would cut output by about 20 percent next month due to a shortage of parts from quake-hit Japan.

Renault Samsung Motors had earlier suspended overtime after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami halted operations of its Japanese suppliers.

"Following the temporary halt of extra work from March 18, the company plans to reduce its vehicle output by about 20 percent for one month from the start of April," Renault Samsung said in a statement.

"The output will be re-adjusted depending on the resumption of deliveries of parts."

The company has a strategic alliance with Japan's Nissan Motor.

Renault Samsung did not give a figure for lost production. Last year it produced 275,267 vehicles at its Busan plant, which has an annual capacity of 300,000.

Other South Korean manufacturers have not so far reported major problems with disrupted Japanese supply lines.

An official from the Knowledge Economy Ministry overseeing the situation said Tuesday there was no major impact so far on local industry.

"Smaller-sized companies have had some difficulties but they are trying to secure supply lines in other ways," the official told AFP.

"There have been cases where Japanese trading partners have called to delay contracts and export schedules, but that is limited only to some companies."

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