Vince Courtenay


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

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.
Hyundai Opens 5-Story Super Showroom for Premium Brands 
Located in the upscale Gangnam District in southern Seoul, Hyundai officials expect the new structure to become a Seoul landmark.
Labor Peace on Line Again for Korean Automakers 
While both Hyundai and Kia forecast sluggish markets that will limit growth for 2014, and report operating and net income was down in 2013, union negotiators likely will not perceive them to be in dire straits.
Hyundai Raising Stakes in Struggle for China Market 
Under the agreement, Chongqing will provide tax breaks and other incentives for the plant, Beijing Hyundai’s fourth in the country. Construction could begin late this year, with production launching in 2016.
GM Korea Reverses Wage Contingency, Adds $577 Million to Bottom Line 
The automaker appears confident it won’t owe workers back pay, despite a pending Korean Supreme Court ruling.
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