GM Korea pledges to invest $5B over 3 years
GM Korea Co., the Korean unit of U.S. automaker General Motors Co., plans to spend up to 5.4 trillion won ($5 billion) over the next three years to improve its vehicles and customer service under ongoing efforts to boost its market share, a senior company official said yesterday.
The amount includes the cost of developing new vehicles as well as expanding and improving the company’s service centers, according to Ankush Arora, GM Korea’s vice president for vehicle sales, marketing and aftersales.
“You certainly need great products, but the formula of success is a combination of many factors,” he said in an interview with Yonhap.
Arora said a strong brand proposition or image was as important as the product itself, as people usually buy products when they can be proud of their purchases.
Also, he said, “You need updating of your products on a continual basis, and three, [good] customer experience because if you are able to do that in an effective fashion, every time you get a customer, you are bound to get repeat customers.”
GM Korea plans to renovate its 10 major service centers throughout the country by October with various comfort zones that will meet the needs of waiting customers. It will enable them to take naps, read books or even use iPads.
“Our intent is very clear that we want to understand and give to our customers something that they have not experienced before,” Arora added.
The same changes will be seen at all smaller GM service centers within the next 14 months, he added.
Another change of service for customers can be seen in the new Chevy Care 357 program, introduced shortly after the company’s launch of the Chevrolet brand in Korea about 100 days ago.
Under the new customer service program, GM Korea provides all vehicle consumables, such as engine oil, for free for three years after the purchase, in addition to a five-year, 100,000-kilometer warranty on major parts and free roadside assistance for seven years.
The customer service plan, along with the launch of six Chevrolet vehicles, has greatly paid off, with GM Korea’s sales in the first five months of the year rising 11.5 percent from the same period last year to 333,979 units. That includes its domestic sales soaring 15.8 percent on-year to 55,310 units during the cited period.
Domestic sales in the three months following the launch of the Chevrolet brand at the beginning of March jumped 23.23 percent to 37,674 units from 30,573 units sold in the March-May period of 2010, according to GM Korea.
Arora said such numbers took a back seat at his company, though he added that the company’s market share will “for sure” reach a double-digit figure this year for the first time in its history.