General Motors underlined its commitment to manufacturing in South Korea by confirming plans to spend up to KRW8 trillion (US$7.35bn) on GM Korea over the next five years.

Previous plans announced by GM to take full control of GM Korea, which comprises six manufacturing subsidiaries, had prompted concern the company intended to carry out deep restructuring at its operations in the country. 

GM Korea produced close to 786,000 vehicles in South Korea last year, equivalent to around a quarter of GM’s Chevrolet production worldwide.

But only 145,702 of these were sold locally, for a domestic market share of just 10%. The company said it aims to double this to 20% in the medium term.

GM’s head of international operations, Tim Lee, said: "GM Korea will continue to play a major role in our global growth plans”.

He added that the investment will go into improving the manufacturing and engineering capabilities across the group. The R&D centre at the company’s headquarters in Incheon will be doubled in size. Of its current models, the Spark and Aveo small cars and the Trax SUV, were developed in South Korea.

The company also plans to introduce six revised GM models at its plants over the next five years, as well as well as GM's first global electric vehicle.