General Motors Korea has no plans to shift production to Europe image

General Motors has no plans to shift production from its factories in South Korea to Europe – where the U.S. giant is trying to return its long-troubled European unit to profitability.

“Are we looking at (it)? We always do. But do we have anything? No,” Sergio Rocha, president and CEO of GM Korea, told reporters on the sidelines of the Busan International Motor Show in South Korea on Thursday.

GM is preparing to make “unpopular decisions” in Europe to improve the efficiency of the region’s underutilized factories, Karl Stracke, GM’s Europe chief, said in an interview. Stracke, told workers the company aims to start selling in Australia, North Africa, South American and the Middle East and build up its presence in China, Russia and Turkey.

It will also consider moving some Chevrolet production to Germany to make better use of plant capacity — a key issue for the struggling mass-market carmaker. The addition of Chevrolets to European production may allow plants to operate three full shifts and reduce the likelihood of factory closures, works council head Wolfgang Schaefer-Klug said outside the Opel headquarters.

Last week, GM opted to build the next generation of its Astra compact in Britain, leaving its plant in Bochum, Germany in danger of closure as it revamps the business to counter more than a decade of losses in Europe.

GM Europe had a 2011 loss of $747 million before interest and taxes.

The automaker occupied a worldwide market share of 11.3% during the quarter, compared with 11.4% a year-ago.