General Motors is cutting its production in South Korea after losing a very valuable market in Europe, but is looking to shift its products to new export markets like Australia. GM Korea has been in hard times since last year. Following an announcement of a $7.3 billion investment into its Korean operations in February 2013, GM Korea’s labor union launched a strike demanding for higher pay and lesser working hours.
Likewise, the appreciating South Korean has undermined the competitiveness of GM's exports from the country. And then in December 2013, GM decided to pull Chevrolet from Europe, which left GM Korea dealing with 150,000 units of excess capacity.
Sergio Rocha, president and chief executive of GM Korea, managed to negotiate compromised with unions on slumping production and implemented white-collar buyouts. He also saw GM Korea post record sales of 151,341 vehicles in South Korea in 2013, giving the carmaker a 10-percent share of the country’s auto market.
Rocha told Automotive News that he has “zero intent of losing volume, share or profitability," adding that GM Korea is moving in the right direction. GM Korea recently opened its newly expanded South Korean design center, in which the carmaker invested $40 million.
Rocha said the investment and the expansion is proof that GM is committed to its local footprint. The design center is now doubled in size and will now be able to perform a number of new tasks like full-scale modeling to 3-D printing, as part of GM’s aim of integrating more international perspective into its styling. [source: automotive news europe - sub. required]