Vince Courtenay


Vince covers South Korea and other markets in the Asia/Pacific region.

Olive Branch Extended, Labor Talks Stay on Cool Side in Korea
A somber mood country-wide and weaker economics are said to be tempering the auto industry’s labor talks like never before.
Tivoli a Hit, Ssangyong Doubles Down With Diesel
The automaker adds a diesel option for the Tivoli, which accounted for 39% of first-half exports with 15,687 deliveries. Without it, Ssangyong exports for the period would have been just 25,687 units, off 61% from year-ago.
Kia Europe Reports Best-Ever First-Half Sales
The Korean automaker says its European operation sold 200,038 vehicles in the January-June period, up 7.6% from year-ago. Second-quarter deliveries topped 100,000 for the first time in any 3-month period, with 103,946 vehicles sold.
Underdog GM Korea Issues Minicar Challenge to Kia
The ’16 Spark’s domestic sales launch in August will mark the beginning of a new offensive in GM Korea’s struggle with Kia, both at home and abroad.
Hyundai Shows Creta Small SUV Ahead of India Launch 
Hyundai is calling the Creta a global model that can be sold in most world markets with only tweaks to satisfy local regulations and preferences.
GM Korea Union Threatens Strike Over Pay, Work Rules 
Korea’s National Labor Relations Commission can order a 10-day cooling-off period before the union can take strike action.
Hyundai Breaks Ground on China Plant, Adds to HQ Investment
The automaker’s fifth plant in China comes at a time when the market is down, and its already hefty outlay for a new headquarters is expected to increase by at least $1.5 billion. Both investments have analysts worried.
Hyundai Reportedly Planning Second U.S. Plant
The automaker denies a report by the Korean government’s Yonhap news agency that it will build a second U.S. plant to meet demand for CUVs, a market segment in which it offers only two models.
Ssangyong Can’t Afford Many Misses, But Tivoli a Hit
Robust demand and ratcheted-up sales projections for the Tivoli may prove to be a two-edged sword for Ssangyong as the low-volume automaker heads into traditionally contentious contract talks with its workers union.
Kia to Open 21 New Dealerships in Mexico, Confirms New Plant to Be Export Hub
The new showrooms mark the beginning of the brand’s foray into Mexico, which will be capped by the launch of pre-production of Forte small cars at a greenfield site near Monterrey in December.
Hyundai Acts to Head Off MERS Virus
Chairman Chung Mong-koo has ordered senior executives to personally go on site at Hyundai’s major plants and supervise the anti-MERS initiative.
Hyundai, President Park Shape South Korean Synergy
Park Geun-hye’s Hyundai connection goes back to her first day in office, when she became the first Korean president to use a Korean car – a stretched Equus – as the official inauguration vehicle. Her predecessors rode in foreign-made limousines.
Labor, Product Challenges Await New GM Korea COO
GM Korea chief Sergio Rocha says James Kim will be responsible for managing all operations, including production, quality control, parts sourcing and labor relations. Rocha will continue handling other executive responsibilities, including strategic development and implementation of sales, marketing and service programs.
GM Korea Woos Microsoft Korea CEO, Reports Say
The Korea Times reports James Woo Kim will take over as CEO of GM Korea in April 2016 after spending a 10-month period as COO.
GM Korea Union Seeks Hefty Pay Hikes, Job Guarantees 
The KMWU’s wage-hike demand is 252% higher than the 63,000-won monthly increase agreed upon in 2014, and it seeks bonuses 43% to 238% higher than the average 10.5 million won paid out last year.
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