Last year was the German marque’s best ever in Korea, with sales of 33,066 vehicles, accounting for more than 21% of all new import registrations. Including the Mini brand, the automaker’s share stood at 25%.
A spokesman confirms the automaker plans a product portfolio for North America and has hired a consultant to help it find a more palatable corporate and brand name. The aim is to describe a product with quality, vigor and a long future.
A spokesman denies GM Korea is being downsized or will see production transferred to China, saying instead that the growing Chinese market in fact means opportunity in the form of increased CKD exports.
Korea’s national parts-suppliers group has issued a public letter denouncing the Korea Metal Workers Union branches at Hyundai-Kia for staging the strike actions, which it says could cost Tier 1 companies 79.5 billion won in daily sales.
After a short break following last week’s 1-day partial strikes, Kia’s union struck for eight hours Thursday (Korea time) spread across two shifts, and will join Hyundai workers in partial strikes Friday totaling nine hours.
The country’s only vehile factory built a token number of compact sedans and other vehicles under license annually. Last November, the company said it was looking to sell the facility due to disappointing profits.
Despite media speculation Hyundai is reacting to the strike action by making plans to boost overseas output, one analyst says the auto maker’s expansion strategy is not connected to the labor situation in Korea.
Some analysts think Park may have left for the same reason as other VW Korea executives: frustration with senior administrators from Germany who allegedly are interfering with the Korean managers’ successful programs.