Suzuki’s Hungarian plant suspends car exports to Russia and Ukraine

The Suzuki Motor Corp logo. is pictured at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo, Japan October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

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BUDAPEST, March 9 (Reuters) – (This March 9 story relates to Suzuki’s Hungarian plant, not Suzuki Motor Corp, in paragraph 1)

Suzuki’s Hungarian plant (7269.T) has suspended car exports to Russia and Ukraine from March due to the war, the company said on Wednesday, in one of the first signs of the conflict which affects the entire economy of the region.

Central Europe is grappling with the economic fallout following Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, including tough Western sanctions on Moscow and turmoil in global markets as investors turn to more assets. sure.

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Suzuki said it exports around 10,000 cars to Russia and Ukraine a year and added that it is trying to shift affected orders to other markets to maintain its planned production volumes.

Suzuki’s Hungarian business sold 119,098 cars in 2020 based on the latest figures available on its website, including 101,672 vehicles in overseas markets, meaning Russia and Ukraine account for about a tenth of its annual exports.

“Our company does not have direct Tier 1 suppliers in the affected areas,” spokeswoman Zsuzsanna Bonnar-Csonka said, referring to Russia and Ukraine. “However, we are constantly monitoring the entire supply chain,” she said. She also said the global chip shortage still posed the biggest hurdle.

Bonnar-Csonka said rising energy costs and a weakening forint, which is down about 3% against the euro this year, have further impacted its operations.

“We do everything we can to optimize our manufacturing costs. However, after a certain point, we have to pass on some of these additional costs to new car prices,” Bonnar-Csonka said.

Other major Hungarian automakers include Mercedes-Benz (MBGn.DE) and the Audi division of the Volkswagen Group (VOWG_p.DE).

Selling in central European currency, bond and equity markets forced the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) to raise the top of its interest rate corridor by 100 basis points to 6.4% on Tuesday after that the Hungarian forint fell to a record low. nearly 400 against the euro on Monday. Read more

The BNH said the war in Ukraine had boosted inflationary pressures, while risks to economic growth were on the downside.

The automotive sector has been a mainstay of Hungary’s growth and exports, but even before the war production had been hampered by the global shortage of semiconductors.

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Reporting by Gergely Szakacs, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Laura T. Thrasher