Vince Courtenay


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

Hyundai Motor Deal Validates Chung’s Gangnam Style 
Anger over the Hyundai chairman’s Gangnam real-estate splurge seemingly was outweighed by the more than $25,000 in higher wages and added bonuses for every fulltime worker. Analysts who were skeptical but not publicly critical of the Gangnam deal now are saying it was a brilliant, forward-thinking move.
Renault Samsung Union Caves on Wage Demands; Increase, Bonuses Modest 
Wages will increase only 65,000 won per month, but it is the first hike for workers at the hard-pressed company in the past two years. Unions also won special bonuses and a pledge to add more workers.
Hyundai Goes Gangnam Style With Plan for $10 Billion HQ, Theme Park 
The automaker appears to be back in expansion mode, with its planned Seoul complex and significant investment in additional capacity in China.
Renault Samsung Launches Flagship SM7 Nova 
The new model is loaded with features, including Nissan’s venerable VQ V-6, available as an option. Wi-Fi replaces Bluetooth, and use of magnesium in spots cuts the weight of the revamped sedan.
New Kia Plant in Mexico Aimed at Bolstering U.S. Supplies
Analysts expect the new plant initially will build the Rio and Soul subcompact, and the Forte compact sedan. Kia executives say U.S. sales of all three are being curtailed by tight supplies.
Hyundai, Korea Workers’ Union Hold Emergency Talks 
Should Hyundai’s labor costs go up inordinately by accepting the union’s wage-recalculation demand, suppliers would be squeezed to cut their margins and they would do likewise with their own smaller suppliers of parts, materials and services.
Hyundai, Kia Workers Strike at Korean Plants 
The KMWU says on its website it had no choice but to call a strike as Hyundai negotiators would not budge on any of the union’s major proposals, including the key demand the automaker include bonus payments in calculating basic wages.
Hyundai, Kia Under Fire in Korean Labor Skirmishes
Analysts note that while this week’s expected verdicts are subject to a lengthy appeal process, rulings in favor of the workers will have a resounding effect throughout not only Korea’s automotive industry but also the entire manufacturing sector.
Kia Sets Sorento Global Debut for Paris 
The third generation of Kia’s biggest CUV grows a few inches longer in overall length but boasts subtle exterior styling changes.
Hyundai, Kia Unions Threaten Strike Over Wage Demands
A top union official says if the hotly contested wage-recalculation demand isn’t resolved, “all perish together.”
Second Korean Automaker Offers Wage Concession 
Ssangyong’s offer would substantially hike payments for overtime, holiday work and severance packages at retirement. But analysts say the low-volume automaker is on the threshold of a turnaround and a strike would destroy the momentum.
BMW Pushing to Maintain Sales Momentum in Korea 
BMW Korea remains the country’s leading importer, with sales for the first six months up 19.3% to 21,972 vehicles.
GM Korea Makes Major Wage Concession to Avert Strike 
The automaker’s offer to include fixed bonuses in calculating wages is meant to sustain efforts to recover from a steep decline in exports.
Unrest as Usual in Korean Automaker, Union Talks 
Workers at GM Korea and Renault Samsung have voted to authorize strikes, and their counterparts at Hyundai, Kia and Ssangyong threaten to walk out to underscore their demands for wage increases, wage reform and other changes.
Diesel Power Hits Its Stride in Korean LV Market
Besides economy and performance, there also is the prestige factor. Bragging rights are a strong feature of Korean culture and the domestic diesels approach the status of the coveted German imports that mostly are diesel-powered.
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