2011 Hyundai Elantra - Click above for high-res image gallery

Labor strife can wreak havoc on manufacturing, even when the workers on strike are miles away from the facility. Hyundai knows this all too well, as Automotive News reports that workers at supplier Yoosung Enterprise Co. occupied the production lines at a Hyundai assembly plant after failing to reach a deal on wages and shift systems. In fact, the sit-in became contentious enough that the police were called in to remove the workers; an action that led to the arrest of 500 disgruntled laborers.

Hyundai claims the engine plant will soon be restarted, but the larger issue is likely whether a deal can be struck. Yoosung supplies 70 percent of all the piston rings used in Hyundai vehicles, and a prolonged strike could result in some supply chain issues, even in the States. While production at the Hyundai plant in Alabama has 60 days of parts in stock, the automaker still imports the 1.8-liter engine used in the Elantra. A spokesperson from Hyundai reportedly told Automotive News that he didn't know if the engine used parts from Yoosung and he also wasn't sure how many engines were in stock.

According to the Chosun Ilbo and Ward's Auto, the disgruntled supplier could also cause disruptions well beyond the house of Hyundai – Yoosung is one of about a dozen companies that hold a 70 percent share of this particular auto parts market. Other companies that could face parts shortages include Kia and General Motors.

While we're not likely to feel the pinch of any piston ring shortages any time soon, this issue could get ugly if a resolution isn't reached. Hyundai currently only has a 25-day supply of these vehicles, so any issue lasting more than a few weeks could result in decreased stock levels.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      Toneron
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Now, me and the mad scientist got to rip apart the block... and replace the piston rings you fried."
      JackS
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't get it...are they going to force everyone to go back to work under the threat of jailing them if they don't? I don't think cars built by people being forced to work are all the appealing.
        tantareanujellob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JackS
        It worked for VW. Look up labor relations at the Puebla plant in Mexico. $2/hour never sounded so good.
        NightFlight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JackS
        Did you not read the article either????? THIS IS A PARTS SUPPLIER, NOT THE MANUFACTURER!!!!!
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good! Get those lazy freeloaders back to work and cut their wages in half.
      nardvark
      • 3 Years Ago
      Didn't realize Hyundai imported engines for the cars that are "built in the USA." If that's also true of the transmission, then their US plants are missing the two most high-value items, which means a lot of the precision manufacturing isn't done here. Maybe they'll rethink that model if these labor woes continue.
        Scr
        • 3 Years Ago
        @nardvark
        This is why they are expanding their engine plant in Alabama...which will produce the engines for the Elantra as well as for the Sonata which it already produces. Funny that the Koreans are experiencing the same labor issues that killed our domestic auto industry, and their solution is to build factories in the "right-to-work" South!
      stclair5211
      • 3 Years Ago
      And next congress mandates them and then they will require as part of obamacare they all be linked to a central computer. Add $3000 to your base price. Do not pass go. Hope and change!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        [blocked]
      1guyin10
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its probably worth mentioning that according to published reports only about 150 of those arrested actually work for this company. The rest were solicited by the union to aid in taking over the facility. I'm sure the union chose this company to push the issue with because it knew it could shut down most of the Korean auto industry by closing this one plant. I'm betting some things get second-sourced really quickly now that they have realized their vulnerability.
      jephmercury
      • 3 Years Ago
      Btw... just to put things in perspective. The factory workers here make a median salary of 55,000-70,000 dollar equivalent a year. They are not lowly paid AT ALL. (Engineers make about 65,000 median doctors 85,000 dollars median in S.Korea) This is just typical auto labor union greed that's driving the protest and massive production capacity and profit lost for the affected company (Hyundai) - Same type of problems that led to the eventual downfall of the American auto industry back in 08.
      Klinkster
      • 3 Years Ago
      If I had to make parts for that evil smirking Elantra, I'd strike too! Striking = Job 1. Quality parts = Someone elses job.
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