General Motors’ decision to drop the Chevrolet brand in Europe has impacted jobs in South Korea where many of the cars are made.

GM Korea is to launch a voluntary retirement scheme, open to 6,000 salaried workers, including research and design staff, in the first quarter of next year although production line employees are not expected to be affected.

This would be the fourth round of job cuts at GM Korea since 2009 and follows the announcement a week ago that the carmaker is to withdraw the Chevy brand in Europe by the end of 2015, a major export market for the South Korean made cars

The operation in Korea has not said how many redundancies it is looking for but added that the cuts are part of "ongoing efforts to enhance operating efficiency".

The cutback in Europe could see GM's South Korean production to fall by as much as 20% by 2016.

Insiders told Reuters GM Korea's research & development centre plans to complete the development of the next generation Spark minicar in March next year, ahead of a 2015 rollout, but there were no further projects in the pipeline.