SOUTH KOREA: Monaco Pink is all part of GM’s regional twists
General Motors may be a global player but design chief Ed Welburn says there are unique styling twists in Korea, China, Thailand and India to suit local driving habits and cultural tastes.
He told the Korea Herald: ““It’s our top priority to cater to customer needs and wants, and we deliver that. What could be so popular in some countries can be offensive in others.”
One example, he added, is the Monaco Pink Chevrolet Spark, a colour currently only available in Korea, adopted by GM’s Korean designer Kim Myung-hee. Welburn said it’s a colour that stands out on the streets full of dull grays and whites, appealing to young female drivers.
“Spark, created in Korea, has got an emotional connection to the Korean team which has applied Korean taste to the model,” Welburn said.
The Monaco Pink has been well-received, accounting for about 28% of total Spark sales in South Korea.
Who owns the car also matters. For the Chinese market, the Buick Lacrosse has a bigger backseat and rear sun shades with a wider screen at the rear because a lot of GM cars there are chauffeur-driven.
Welburn added: “We made similar adjustments for India too. Spark, known as Beat in India, is mostly a family car even though it’s a subcompact, so we placed bigger back seats for our Indian models.
“These modifications were needed because their purpose of owning a car is quite different from, say, US, where drivers mostly care about front seat and not the back seat as they spend most of their time at the front.”
In Thailand, GM includes no seatbelts in its pick-up trucks because the vehicles tend to get filled with so many people.
While regional tweaks will continue, Welburn said that GM has no current plans for Asia-specific models despite growth in the markets.