The management of General Motors, the parent company of GM Korea, expressed their commitment to the Korean market at a news conference held in Bupyeong, Incheon on June 25.
"We are here for long term," said Julian Blissett, senior vice president of GM and president of GM International (GMI), during a meeting with Korean reporters at the GM Technical Center Korea (GMTCK) in Bupyeong, Incheon. This was the first time that the GMI president who oversees GM's overseas business except for the United States and China, officially announced its management policy for GM Korea.
"If you look at our investment in the Changwon plant, the investment is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. A paint shop's minimum life cycle reaches 25 to 30 years. We don't build paint shops only for five to 10 years. That's too expensive. So through that kind of investment, we need to get returns," Blissett said.
GM Korea broke ground for the paint shop at the Changwon plant last month. The paint shop is designed to support the local production of a crossover utility vehicle in 2023.
Earlier, GM Korea reached an agreement with Korea Development Bank, its main creditor, in December last year to make GMTCK a global research and development (R&D) base and keep GMTCK in Korea for at least 10 years.
Blissett stressed GM’s commitment to Korea. He cited the GM Asia Pacific Headquarters in Korea and the GM Technical Center Korea (GMTCK. “These organizations are proof of GM’s strong commitment to doing business in Korea," he said.
However, when asked about whether Korea will be included in GM’s plan to shut down two additional overseas factories, which was announced by GM chairwoman Mary Barra, Blissett refused to give a clear answer, saying that the allocation of future products and production strategies are the company’s business secrets.
"The decision to close down North American factories was made to optimize efficiency and production utilization. GM values competitiveness when assessing global production bases. They have to have cost competitiveness in a wide range of factors." This implied that if GM Korea’s productivity remains low, it will be subject to restructuring. "GM Korea has important tasks to do in the second half of this year and next year," Blissett continued. “It should pursue higher profitability.”
Regarding this year’s wage and collective bargaining negotiations with the labor union, GM Korea said that it would negotiate with the union based on the principle of good faith.
"GM Korea unionists should keep it in mind that GM Korea should have competitiveness in business operations," said Kazem, president of GM Korea. "Our future depends on competitiveness, so I ask the labor union for cooperation."