Jump to content
Create New...
  • William Maley
    William Maley

    GM Korea is the Latest Target In the Company's Cost Cutting

      Another one of GM's International Operations Could be on the Chopping Block

    This past year has seen General Motors not be shy with scaling back operations in various international markets. The company sold off Opel/Vauxhall to PSA Group, ended sales of Chevrolet vehicles in India, and closed down their operations in South Africa. Now, GM's Korea operations are on the chopping block.

    Last week, GM CEO Mary Barra revealed that company officials were in discussion with minority owners and union officials that could lead to "some rationalization actions or restructuring."

    "We're going to have to take actions going forward to have a viable business," said Barra during a conference call talking about GM's 2017 financial results.

    Sales of GM vehicles in Korea have dropped 20 percent, while manufacturing costs have increased. This has made South Korea a poor place to export vehicles to other markets.

    This week, GM announced that it will shutter the Gunsan plant (one of the four plants operating in South Korea). The plant employs 2,000 out of the 16,000 workers employed at GM Korea. GM said the reason for the closure came down to high labor costs and low output. The plant only operated at 20 percent of its capacity last year according to Reuters. Unsurprisingly, the news angered the South Korean government and workers at the plant. 

    “The government expresses deep regret over GM’s one-sided decision to suspend and shut down” the plant, the finance ministry said in a statement.

    The ministry said it wants to conduct an audit of GM's operations help with the restructuring plan.

    As for workers at Gunsan plant, workers staged a protest yesterday, declaring the move a “death sentence”, and threatening a strike.

    “Let’s protect our right to live on our own,” said Kim Jae-hong, the leader of the workers’ union at the Gunsan branch.

    A GM Korea spokesman said the company "would continue discussions with the union and seek their understanding over the closure plan." Workers though aren't fully buying this.

    “We can’t accept this. The company informed us about the closure plan, not asking for our opinion. It was already the end of the discussions,” Dang Sung-geun, a senior official at the union of GM Korea told Reuters.

    “This is like a death sentence notice before the Lunar New Year holidays.”

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Reuters (2)

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Totally understandable and Unions have forgotten that without a profit, there is no company. So a plant at 20% capacity I doubt can keep the lights turned on and Hello, no job for life. Welcome to the rest of the world.

    Also, yes, I know most asians follow the Lunar New year, but the rest of the world does not and so enjoy your holiday but this has nothing to do with the business sustainability. 

    Totally understandable, limited growth market if not just flat due to small country, small population and high cost of doing business. GM has to watch out for the bottom line.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Given Mary Barra's record in the last two years, South Korea should hope that she does not shutter GM Korea entirely.  It is cheaper to build GM Korean cars in China and ship them over rather than build them locally.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • google-news-icon.png

  • Create New...

Hey there, we noticed you're using an ad-blocker. We're a small site that is supported by ads or subscriptions. We rely on these to pay for server costs and vehicle reviews.  Please consider whitelisting us in your ad-blocker, or if you really like what you see, you can pick up one of our subscriptions for just $1.75 a month or $15 a year. It may not seem like a lot, but it goes a long way to help support real, honest content, that isn't generated by an AI bot.

See you out there.


Write what you are looking for and press enter or click the search icon to begin your search

Change privacy settings