GM Korea plans voluntary buyouts
The nation’s third-largest automaker, GM Korea, will carry out a series of cost-reduction plans to deal with falling exports including a voluntary buyout plan for managerial level administrative workers and executives.
According to industry sources, CEO Sergio Rocha discussed the plan at a management briefing last month.
“Specific schedules and methods for the resignation program have not been decided yet,” a company spokesman said yesterday. “It could be late December or early next year.”
In February, GM Korea cut 300 administrative and assembly line supervisors. It paid two years of salary for those hired between 1999 and 2010, and three years of salary for workers who joined the company before 1999. It was the fourth voluntary resignation program since 2009.
The company at the time gave no explanation for the program, but insiders said it was because GM decided to stop selling Chevrolet models in Europe after 2015, cutting about 186,000 vehicles from GM Korea’s production.
GM Korea exported 397,371 cars this year through October, a 23.7 percent drop from a year ago.
Pulling Chevrolet models from Europe will have a direct impact on workers at GM Korea’s Gunsan factory in North Jeolla, who make the brand’s Cruz and crossover utility vehicle Orlando. The company said exports to Europe have been steadily decreasing to the point where the factory is operating at 60 percent capacity.
Rocha notifield the company’s labor union at a meeting Nov. 6 that the Gunsan factory’s two daytime shifts would be cut to one.
“We can’t accept the company’s plan,” said a spokesman for the labor union. “It would cause employment problems for sure.”
The Bupyeong No. 2 factory in Incheon is also expected to be affected.
The company said it will import large size sedan Impalas next year to replace Alpheon, which failed to sell more than 10,000 units per year in Korea.
The company also said the Bupyeong No.1 factory will produce the new Malibu model starting in 2016. Alpheon and Malibu have been produced at the No. 2 factory.
BY KWON SANG-SOO [email@example.com]