Following in the wake of its multinational automotive peers in Hungary, the Hungarian branch of Japan’s Suzuki Corp announced on Wednesday it is suspending production at its plant in Esztergom in northern Hungary due to a global economic slowdown tied to the coronavirus outbreak.
Suzuki’s production stoppage means that the Hungarian automotive industry has effectively ground to a halt.
The four major car manufacturers present in Hungary account for just over 10 percent of the total GDP and 29 percent of total manufacturing output.
The Hungarian subsidiary, Magyar Suzuki Zrt, which just on Tuesday said it was maintaining partial production but would not call in its employees over the age of 60 to work, has now announced that it will continue to pay wages to its 3,200 employees, with the details of such an arrangement currently in discussions.
Last year, Magyar Suzuki assembled 185,000 cars, more than the 172,000 cars sold in Hungary, mostly on the back of the ongoing success of its 32-year-old Vitara compact SUV, now in its fourth generation.
The other three of the four major foreign-owned car plants in Hungary (Audi, Mercedes and Opel) have already announced they are suspending production for an indefinite period. In Audi’s case, this decision is part of group-level shutdown of all European plants, including those in Slovakia.
Title image: Entrance of the Magyar Suzuki plant in Esztergom, northern Hungary on March 18, 2020. (MTI/Zsolt Szigetvári)