SOUTH KOREA: GM confirms to models for domestic plants
General Motors has dispelled concerns that it will shift Chevrolet production out of South Korea although it has delayed the launch of the revamped Aveo small car, according to labour unions.
GM has also advised the union it will produce the Aveo and the Spark mini car, due for launch in the first half of 2015, in Korea. Union officials told Reuters GM Korea's management briefed negotiators on its plans during annual wage talks that ended last week.
A GM Korea spokesman declined to comment, saying the company did not disclose future product plans.
South Korea manufactures and exports the Spark and Aveo (Sonic) cars to the US, Europe and other countries, and makes knock-down kits for assembly in Uzbekistan.
The Spark, introduced in 2009, is manufactured at GM Korea's plant in the southeastern city of Changwon, and the Aveo, which was rolled out in 2011, is made at its headquarters in Bupyeong, outside of Seoul.
GM Korea said it sold 215,177 Sparks at home and abroad last year and the exports accounted for nearly 70% of sales.
GM Korea, which was created after the automaker bought Daewoo Motor in 2002, has been GM's major Asian manufacturing base and engineering-design hub for its mini and small cars. But concerns are growing that the American company may reduce its presence in the country after it said it would not produce the next-generation Cruze compact there. The current Cruze is also built in the US and Australia.
Reuters added GM has postponed the launch of the next-generation Cruze by a year due to engineering changes and a desire to squeeze more sales from the small car before it is redesigned.
Citing company souces, the news agency added that the next version of the Cruze, which had originally been scheduled to debut late in 2014, will now begin production in December 2015.
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