GM opens an Asia-Pacific headquarters in Korea

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GM opens an Asia-Pacific headquarters in Korea


General Motors Executive Vice President Barry Engle and Lim Han-taek, head of GM Korea’s labor union, greet each other during the opening ceremony of the automaker’s Asia-Pacific headquarters on Thursday. [YONHAP]

General Motors (GM) opened its Asia-Pacific Headquarters in Korea on Thursday, highlighting the automaker’s commitment to the country.

The U.S. automaker held a ceremony Thursday at GM Korea’s main office, located at its Bupyeong plant in Incheon, to celebrate the establishment of the Asia Pacific Regional Headquarters, which will manage GM’s production, sales, marketing and finances for the region except China.

GM International previously had a regional headquarters in Singapore.

The ceremony was attended by: Barry Engle, executive vice president of GM; Julian Blissett, president of GM International; Andy Dunstan, managing director of GM who will head the Asia-Pacific office; Kaher Kazem, CEO of GM Korea; and two additional GM executives. Several Korean officials and politicians, including the Democratic Party floor leader Hong Young-Pyo, attended the ceremony as well.

GM Korea labor union head Lim Han-taek also attended. GM Korea’s plummeting sales forced the company to shut down its production lines in Gunsan, North Jeolla, last year, which led to a long negotiation between the company and its labor union.

“Since last year, we have made significant progress to fulfill our promises,” Engle said. “We are establishing the Asia-Pacific Headquarters here to utilize Korea as the core of our business efforts in the region.”

The opening of the new regional headquarters indicates that GM is not giving up its presence in Korea, Engle said. The Korean government and GM signed an initial agreement in May last year to open the office amid speculation that the Detroit automaker was going to withdraw its operations from Korea due to low sales and its struggle with the labor union.

GM has hired 100 new engineers for research efforts while increasing investment in its Bupyeong plant to develop and build more sports-utility vehicles and cross utility vehicles.

GM Korea also cut the prices of its mainstay models - including the Impala sedan, Trax compact SUV and the Equinox SUV - by up to 3 million won in January. The carmaker plans to introduce 15 vehicles into the local market over the next five years.

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