Last week in Detroit, Akerson told GM’s South Korean union leader that he won’t pull GM out of South Korea. He also said he is unhappy with the Korean union, and that he will bring up the matter this week with South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, when the “Iron Lady” will visit the U.S. this week.
Rumors started flying when South Korea’s Financial News said that Kia is talking to Georgia state officials about constructing a new plant. These rumors were denied. Last week, Chung rekindled the flames by saying that Hyundai “will look into whether there are opportunities” to expand production overseas.
Chung is expected to visit Hyundai and Kia’s U.S. plants in Alabama and Georgia during his visit, which coincides with South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s U.S. trip.
Last week, GM CEO Dan Akerson said that GM might move production away from South Korea if tensions with North Korea escalate. Today, Korea labor unions said Akerson is using the crisis as a pretext to gain the upper hand in upcoming labor talks. Read More >
It’s not just the UAW that is upset about free trade agreements. The Koreans are likewise. The offices of the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association were raided by investigators of the country’s Fair Trade Commission, the Financial Times reports. The agency alleges that BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Toyota Motor were involved in price collusion. Read More >
Usually, we are not big on COTY’s, but this one is too good to pass up. According to lore, which is sometimes parroted in the comments at TTAC, there is mutual hate between Koreans and Japanese. This did not stop Korean journalists from crowning a Japanese car as Korea’s Car of the year: The Toyota Camry. This was so momentous that Toyota Korea president Hisao Nakabayashi broke into tears when the award was presented at a Seoul hotel. Read More >
Possibly a bigger scandal is following Hyundai’s MPG brouhaha: There is a stench of insider trading. “This smells pretty bad,” Robert Boxwell, director of consulting firm Opera Advisors in Kuala Lumpur who has studied insider dealing patterns, tells Reuters. Read More >
While Japan may be a “closed market” in the eyes of some, imported cars from America are all the rage in South Korea. Honda is planning on sending no fewer than six American-made cars; the Civic, Accord, Odyssey, CR-V, Crosstour and Pilot will all be sent to South Korea as Honda attempts to become a net exporter of American made vehicles.
Reuters calls it “one of the more bizarre joint ventures in car-making,” and it is coming to an end. South Korea’s Unification Church, better known as the Moonies, is giving up its investment in the one and only carmaker in North Korea, Pyeonghwa Motors. “Giving up” is carefully chosen: The church will walk away from the business, and donate its 70 percent stake to North Korea. Read More >
GM told Reuters that it won’t build the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze in South Korea. Reuters says this is “raising the possibility that GM might shift the assembly to Europe to help boost efficiency at its money-losing unit there.” Read More >
Hyundai has long been in the top spots of America’s most fuel miserly vehicles. Over night, Hyundai will drop a few rungs down. Audited and found wrong by the EPA, Hyundai and Kia agreed to restate the fuel economy ratings on many of its cars. Cars in showrooms will be relabeled. Customers of more than a million 2011 through 2013 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada will receive debit cards. Read More >
GM Korea reached a tentative wage agreement with its union, Reuters says. Workers receive a little more money, and a major concession that could have far-reaching consequences for GM’s recovery if it sets a precedence in the rest of GM’s world. Read More >