General Motors is committed to overcome the hurdles of its South Korean operations and plans to boost the local output and sales as well.
Following the decision to withdraw its Chevrolet brand from Europe, the South Korean business of the largest US automaker has entered a gloomy period. For years, the country has been a crucial export hub for General Motors, as most of its European Chevys were sent from South Korea, producing also close to a fifth of the company’s global output. In addition, local labor costs have raised nearly 50 percent in just five years, affecting manufacturing competitiveness, GM executives said. The unit now aims to revive its output levels, by introducing seven models including the Captiva sport utility vehicle and the Malibu sedan, Dale Sullivan, vice president of GM Korea, said at a launch event for Captiva. It also targets to sell 191,000 more cars this year on the local market and to boost its market share to 10 percent, up from the 8.6 points last year.
GM has four vehicle assembly plants in the country (in the towns of Bupyeong, Gunsan and Changwon) and it is struggling with low production levels at two of them, but the addition of the Malibu sedan output at the factory in the city of Bupyeong should increase the pace. The automaker is also considering to build its Impala sedan there. “The decision is a very important and difficult one,” said James Kim, CEO at GM Korea.