GM Korea CEO rejects rumors it will close local operation
“I want to ensure you that my team and I are absolutely committed to turning around the Korean operations,” the newly appointed CEO said on Wednesday in Bupyeong, Incheon, prior to giving a media tour of the carmaker’s design center.
Kazem said that the company and its partners will work to raise the competitiveness and profitability of GM Korea.
“GM Global is in the right markets that drive profitability and business. We capitalize on growth and opportunity in the long term. And this includes our operation here in Korea,” he added.
Regarding General Motors’ Chevrolet brand, Kazem said Korea is its fifth largest market and is one of the fastest growing, further emphasizing Korea’s global stance among General Motors’ other overseas operations.
GM Korea’s design center is also in charge of designing a diverse Chevrolet lineup including compact cars, small SUVs and electric vehicles. It also handles some Buick and Cadillac models as well.
The design center, which is located adjacent to the assembly line in Bupyeong, has been going through a 40 billion won ($35.3 million) renewal and expansion process since 2014.
The center was first opened in 1983 as part of Daewoo Motors’ R&D center. After the renewal, it became the Detroit-based auto giant’s second-largest design center.
The center is equipped with state-of-the-art technology such as three-dimensional virtual reality equipment and has a total of 180 staff, the company says.
The center has been in charge of designing some of General Motors’ most popular models such as the Spark, Aveo and Cruze as well as the small SUV Trax.
Electric vehicles are also largely handled by the Korean operation. The Bupyeong design center took the lead in designing the Bolt EV and Spark EV.
“The Korean unit took charge of EV lineup not only because we could leverage our strength in making mini cars but also because we partnered up with LG Chem for the battery,” said Stuart Norris, managing director of GM Korea’s design center, during the tour.
“Korea’s design center will fortify its global presence based on our experience of developing innovative product like Bolt EV,” Norris added.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]