General Motors plans to slash its headcount in South Korea next year as it prepares to withdraw its Chevy brand in Europe, usually a major export market for South Korean-made cars.
A spokesman announced that GM Korea CEO Sergio Rocha has said it plans to launch a “voluntary retirement” scheme open to its 6,000 salaried workers by March in what would be its fourth round of job cuts since 2009. Rocha added the automaker does not plan to shed production jobs as the 6,000 salaried workers who are eligible to apply for the voluntary retirement program include research and design staff, which amounts to about 2,200.
“This is part of our ongoing efforts to enhance operating efficiency,” the spokesman, Park Hae-ho, said, without disclosing a target for the job reductions.
The move to drop the Chevrolet brand in Europe by the end of 2015 is expected to lead GM’s South Korean production to fall by as much as 20 % by 2015, as the country supplies most of the Chevy cars sold in Europe.
An employee at GM Korea’s research & development center told Reuters there are plans to complete the development of the next-generation Spark mini-car in March next year, ahead of a 2015 rollout, and after March, there would be no projects in the pipeline.