General Motors Korea said this week it would pause the Trailblazer and Encore GX line at the plant on February 17th and 18th amid the coronavirus outbreak in China, which has, in turn, lead to a parts shortage at the facility. Many people in China are still off work as the government looks to curb the spread of the virus.
Late last month, GM Korea held a ceremony to celebrate the start of Chevrolet Trailblazer production at the Bupyeong facility. The Trailblazer and Encore GX will be sold locally in South Korea and are also exported to other markets around the globe, including the United States and Canada. Both vehicles are seen as important strategic models for GM, which describes the pair as “subcompact-plus” crossovers that fill the gap between subcompact offerings like the Trax and Encore and compact vehicles like the Equinox and Envision.
“This new Chevrolet global SUV, proudly developed and manufactured in Korea, is the next-generation core model that will lead the brand’s future,” Kaher Kazem, GM Korea President and CEO, said during the ceremony in January.
It’s unclear if the two-day stoppage will have much of an impact on Trailblazer and Encore GX supply in North America. GM has said previously the crossovers would officially go on sale this spring, though the Encore GX has already begun to arrive at dealers. The Trailblazer starts at $19,995 in the United States, while the Encore GX is priced from $25,095.
GM’s Chinese joint venture, said its lines will start back up on February 15th following an extended holiday shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. GM is not the only automaker to have been impacted by coronavirus work stoppages. Employees at Mercedes-Benz’s Chinese joint venture, Beijing Benz, returned to work this week, while Honda hopes to have its Chinese production lines back up and running by February 17th.
On Tuesday, U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said the government is “closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus,” and warned the outbreak “could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy.”