Yesterday, South Korea’s Financial News said Kia is talking to Georgia state officials about constructing a new plant, called “KMMG 2″ with an annual output of 150,000 units. This in addition to the plant Kia already has in West Point, GA. Reuters asked around, and received nothing but denials. (Read More…)
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…)
GM wants to thin out its South Korean workforce while shifting production to Europe’s higher-wage locations. Korean unions already see it as a declaration of war. (Read More…)
Labor leaders in South Korea are scrambling to convince GM to retain production of the Chevrolet Cruze in South Korea, though GM says that the move to 5 global facilities is a done deal.
The EU sent a warning shot across the bow of protectionist France. Brussels refused France’s request to monitor car imports from South Korea. According to the Wall Street Journal, import surveillance could have been Europe’s first step toward blocking or reversing tariff cuts instated by a free trade deal between the EU and Korea. (Read More…)
Pretty much most of the world’s large automakers plan a commercial launch of fuel cell vehicles in 2015, Hyundai even earlier. One of the hot spots could be Scandinavia. At the end of a month-long hydrogen-powered tour through Europe, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Hyundai signed an agreement to jointly promote fuel cell vehicles in Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark. (Read More…)
Less than a year ago, the Tokyo automotive press corps was summoned to Kyushu, the southernmost of the four main Japanese islands to visit a Nissan plant. Nobody knew why, until Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn had one of his trademark impromptu outbursts. He called the exchange rate “abnormal,” several times, until everybody got it. He threatened several times that Nissan and most of the Japanese industry would pack up and leave, and delivered an ultimatum: “If six months down the road we are still in this situation, then this will provoke a rethinking of our industrial strategy.” (Read More…)
At home, GM is at peace with the unions, benefits of having the UAW as a major shareholder. Abroad, GM Europe has been in a low intensity conflict with the European unions that oppose cuts at Opel. Now, a labor conflict flares up in an unexpected part of the world: Korea. (Read More…)
Korea’s Samsung, better known for flat panel TVs, Galaxy smart phones and other gadgetry, wants its name removed from cars produced by Renault in Korea. “We want to take our brand ‘Samsung’ out of Renault Samsung since we don’t have anything to do with the car sales,” a Samsung executive told The Korea Herald.
Nothing doing, replied a Renault spokesman: (Read More…)