Last week the third largest automaker in the world and the biggest in the US, General Motors, announced it would cease manufacturing GM-branded vehicles in Indonesia and immediately after it announced a retrench in Thailand, too.
On Friday the US group said it would stop making the Chevrolet Sonic car in Thailand from the middle of the year. General Motors intends to pull the plug on some of its cars in parts of Southeast Asia, with the emerging markets becoming the next battleground for the major global carmakers. The US company will continue to deliver some of its passenger car models – such as the compact Chevrolet Cruze, but it would mainly shift focus towards the “American heritage” represented by the automaker’s SUVs and pickups such as the Trailblazer and Colorado. The strategy reshape comes under Executive Vice President Stefan Jacoby, who heads all the markets beyond the Americas, Europe and China and shows GM signaling a retreat in Asia.
Its business continues to grow in China, the world’s largest single market and the biggest in Asia, but other parts of the region – widely referred as emerging markets – have proved sluggish for the company. The Detroit-based automaker says the overall restructuring charges would amount to around $700 million in 2015, while also expecting Jacoby’s International Operations division to post this year an improved consolidated operating performance. The Thai factory in Rayong, an industrial city southeast of Bangkok, will feature a reduced production capacity from the current annual performance of 180,000 units – with a “voluntary separation program” for the staff no longer needed.