General Motors began taking pre-orders in South Korea last week for the all-electric Bolt. In under two hours, the entirety of the first shipment was spoken for. By the end of that day, March 17, more than 2,000 additional orders had been placed, proving — once again — that GM is killing it in Asia and Koreans are tech-obsessed.
Incredibly, most of those customers hadn’t even laid eyes on the vehicle. The Bolt doesn’t make its official Korean debut until March 30th, when it will appear at the 2017 Seoul Motor Show. (Read More…)
In today’s General Motors digest: The automaker takes it on the chin in its quarterly report; the analysts have their say; GM Korea could allow its workers to build the next Cruze if only they would put down the picket signs; 45 attorney generals are investigating the February 2014 recall; and CEO Mary Barra will be the keynote speaker for a connected-vehicle forum.
Amid stalling wage and production negotiations between GM Korea and its workers, the latter have voted to strike.
With labor costs set to rise in South Korea, wage negotiations between management and employees inside GM Korea may be “the most critical negotiation” the subsidiary has ever faced.
Autoblog reports another recall has been issued by General Motors, this time concerning 51,640 2014 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia crossovers screwed together between March 26 and August 15 of last year. The affected vehicles possess an engine control module whose software may provide an inaccurate fuel gauge reading, forcing the driver to pull to the side of the road should the tank prove empty instead of a quarter to empty. Owners have been asked to bring their affected crossover for a reflashing of the ECM to correct the issue.
Over the weekend, General Motors opened their newly expanded GM Korea Design Center in Incheon, South Korea, doubling in size to prepare for new tasks related to the automaker’s overall plans for the small-car market via its Korean global hub.
As Chevrolet slowly exits from the European market while Holden exits the production line altogether, General Motors is mulling over increasing exports to Australia out of South Korea.
Outside North America, this little blue pill of an A-segment car is known as the Daewoo Matiz Creative. It may look an obsolete computer peripheral (or a pregnant roller skate), but GM claims that the Chevrolet Spark has more torque than a Ferrari 458 Italia. As a self-described technology lover, and card-carrying resident of the Left Coast, I had to check it out.
Reuters is reporting from “a source with direct knowledge of the matter” that General Motors plans to reduce shifts at its South Korean factories by half as it aligns its global manufacturing. The move could eliminate 1,100 jobs. GM had announced last month that it was discontinuing the Chevrolet brand in Europe by the end of next year and GM Korea produces many of the Chevy branded cars sold on the continent.
According to the report, GM Korea has already approached the union representing its production workers about reducing the current two shifts at the Gunsan factory to a single shift. That plant employs 2,200 manufacturing employees. It’s not clear if the surplus employees will be laid off, offered voluntary retirement or relocated to other facilities. (Read More…)
GM Korea design center
Now that General Motors is withdrawing the Chevrolet brand from the European market, it plans to reduce salaried employee rolls at GM Korea, which has been assembling most of the Chevy branded vehicles sold in Europe. Reuters reports that Sergio Rocha, GM Korea CEO, said that GM’s Korean subsidiary will offer a “voluntary retirement” plan to its 6,000 salaried workers, including research and design staff. Some of the product development responsibilities have already been shifted out of Korea, like the design of the current Chevy Cruze. The previous generation of the Cruze was designed in Korea. So far the reductions are aimed at salaried workers as Rocha said the company has no plans to eliminate production jobs. (Read More…)
Following labor unrest and increasing costs at their operations in South Korea, General Motors has begun to reevaluate GM Korea’s role in the giant automaker’s production plans. Currently GM Korea, formerly Daewoo, builds about 20% of GM’s global production. The already announced shifting of production of Opel’s Mokka small crossover to the Zaragoza facility in Spain starting in the second half of 2014 may portend other changes in GM Korea’s role. Both foreign and domestic Korean automakers have expressed concern over rapidly rising wages in that country. The strong Korean currency, the won, coupled with those rising labor costs have made Korea one of the more expensive places for GM to build cars. (Read More…)
Last week, members of the Korean Metal Workers Union approved an annual wage contract with GM Korea that follows more than two weeks of partial strikes that affected GM’s Asian manufacturing base. GM Korea assembles about 40% of Chevy branded cars sold worldwide.