Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner was in South Korea Thursday complimenting GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. on its stellar performance at the same time parentCorp. was revising its loss for 2005 by an additional $2 billion, to a total $10.6 billion.
Sources say Wagoner did not mention the development as he personally thanked workers at Bupyeong plant No.2 for helping boost GMDAT’s 2005 sales to more than 1 million units last year, making the subsidiary profitable for the first time since it began operations in 2002.
A day earlier, GMDAT President and CEO Nick Reilly announced the auto maker had racked up its first net profit of 65 billion won ($67 million) on revenue of 8.3 trillion won ($8.64 billion).
Plant No.2 is in full production with the new Tosca compact sedan and in early production of the all-new Winstorm SUV, the first SUV to be produced by GMDAT.
“The Winstorm will be instrumental in growing GM’s market share in Korea and in many other important markets around the world,” Wagoner told plant workers. “In the process, it will deliver the message that ‘Made in Korea’ is synonymous with excellence.”
The SUV will go on sale in South Korea in diesel versions in June and will be shipped to some markets, including China, in kit form. It also will be sold in Europe badged as the Chevrolet Captiva in diesel- and gasoline-engine versions. GM expects to sell 15,000 units in Europe this year.
In Australia, the vehicle will be badged the Holden Captiva and will be equipped with a 3.2L version of GM’s all-alloy Global V-6 gas engine produced at GM Holden’s Melbourne plant. GM Holden worked jointly with GMDAT in developing the vehicle.
Wagoner says GMDAT last year saw sales nearly triple, to 1,157,857 vehicles, including complete-knocked-down (CKD) kits, compared with sales of 411,573 vehicles and kits sold in 2002.
GMDAT recently announced that all 1,725 laid-off workers from the former Daewoo Motors Co. Ltd. are being reinstated. The auto maker is targeting 2006 total sales of 1.5 million vehicles, an increase of about 30% over 2005.
Reilly says the No. 2 plant is adding a second shift to handle Winstorm production, noting vehicle-assembly plants in Gunsan and Changwon have been operating on a 2-shift basis for some time.
The Winstorm sold in South Korea is powered by a Euro-IV compliant state-of-the-art common-rail direct-injection 2.0L engine developed in conjunction with VM Motori of Italy.
It is in full production at GMDAT’s new 475 billion won ($489 million) engine facility, adjacent to the vehicle-assembly plant in Gunsan.