Vince Courtenay


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

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.
Generous Subsidies Generate EV Appeal in South Korea
As EV sales mount, Korea consumers will have more choices. Virtually all of the 22 car brands imported into the country offer an electrified vehicle.
BMW Reigns Supreme Over South Korean Import Market
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%.
Hyundai Mum on Reports of Fourth Plant for China 
The Beijing Hyundai JV already has three plants in Beijing operating at combined maximum capacity of about 1.1 million units.
Ssangyong Eyes U.S. Market as Comeback Continues
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.
Sales, Production Show GM Korea Too Efficient to Fail 
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.
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