BUSINESS

GM Korea steps up moves to quell rumors of withdrawal from Korea

By Kim Bo-gyung
  • Published : Sept 6, 2017 - 15:57
  • Updated : Sept 6, 2017 - 19:36


Clay models of GM vehicles and the interior made using 3-D augmented reality technology at the Design Center in Bupyeong, Gyeonggi Province (GM Korea)

BUPYEONG, Incheon -- Stepping up efforts to quell unrelenting rumors of its potential pullout from South Korea, GM Korea on Wednesday arranged a press tour of its design center, with the newly appointed CEO emphasizing the importance of the market here.

“Firstly, I have heard the many rumors of media regarding our operation in GM Korea. I can assure you that our team and I are committed to turning around our Korean operations, working with all stakeholders and our partners to improve our competitiveness and profitability,” Kaher Kazem told reporters before a tour around GM Korea’s design center in Bupyeong, Incheon.

Equipped with cutting edge facilities, the design center here is the second largest by size, after the one in North America, where some 180 employees are in charge of product design programs for Chevrolet, Buick and GMC. In 2014, a total of 40 billion won ($35.2 million) was invested in remodeling the center, which has been expanded by two times to cover 16,640 square meters of land.

“GM Korea is GM Chevrolet’s fifth-largest and fastest growing market, which our team is very proud of. GM Korea is playing an important role as a manufacturing, design and engineering base for GM Global operation,” said Kazem

GM’s appointment of Kazem, who previously led the withdrawal of GM India, as the new head of the local unit, alongside unionized workers’ partial strike for two years in a row, have further triggered talks of the company pulling out of Korea.

Highlighting the design center’s role, the company said the design of GM’s electric vehicles -- Chevy Bolt EV and Spark EV -- were created by professionals here.

The teams here has also worked on the design of GM’s small SUVs, including the Spark, Aveo and Trax, along with Buick cars and vehicles sold in emerging markets.

GM Korea said the latest 3-D augmented reality facility newly placed at the center has enhanced the design technology of GM.

The center consists of the exterior design team, interior design team, color and trim team, sculpting team, studio engineering team and more.

Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)