GM Reaffirms Commitment to Korea as Part of Global Growth Strategy

2021-11-12


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  • 10 electric vehicles for the Korean domestic market by 2025 to put everyone in an EV
  • GMC brand and Sierra pickup to be launched in the domestic market
  • Business turnaround in Korea is on track with two global programs: Trailblazer and new C-CUV
  • Engineering team in Korea to expand its electric vehicle engineering capability

Incheon – General Motors Korea hosted a press conference today to reinforce the important role that GM’s Korean operations will play in the company’s future strategies and plans.

The GM Future Growth Press Conference was held at the GM Design Center in Bupyeong, Incheon. Participants included GM Senior Vice President and GM International (GMI) President Steve Kiefer, GM Korea President and CEO Kaher Kazem, and GM Technical Center Korea (GMTCK) President Roberto Rempel.

GM is transforming into a platform innovator and expanding the critical role of Korea in its global growth strategy: “10 EVs planned for the domestic market in Korea by 2025.”

Kiefer introduced GM’s global growth strategy for the pursuit of its triple zero vision – zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion - and the critical role that Korea is playing, which includes:

  • Turning around its core business following GM’s investment in two new global vehicle platforms in 2018
  • GMTCK is working on a number of projects related to the future of mobility.
  • GM’s Ultium joint venture with LG Energy Solution is producing a battery platform to power the zero emissions future. The partnership was recognized just last month with the Korea Society’s Van Fleet Award.

“GM has changed the world over the past century, and we are finding new roads in various business areas which will be our new growth engines for a sustainable future,” said Kiefer.

“GM is at an inflection point — we are transforming our company from an automaker to a platform innovator,” he continued. “Korea, a market of early adopters and very technology-focused people, presents many opportunities. We will introduce 10 new vehicles to this market by 2025, bringing EVs in every price point from entry-level vehicles to performance cars, rugged trucks, capable SUVs, crossovers, and luxury products that our customers know and love.”

Kiefer stressed that competitiveness and profitability are key to sustaining the business in Korea, saying: “We continue to make great strides toward our goal of sustainable profitability in Korea – through a combination of domestically produced vehicles with export programs and imported vehicles across our portfolio. It is vital that the business continues to improve its competitiveness, while also focusing on manufacturing quality and launch excellence with the upcoming global crossover to be launched in 2023.”

Refocus on two global programs in manufacturing and two tracks with a multi-brand strategy in the domestic market: “GMC Sierra to be introduced in Korea next year.”

Kazem presented GM Korea’s key focus on the manufacturing operations and domestic market strategy.

  • The launch of the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Buick Encore, built in the Bupyeong facility, was a critical milestone stabilizing manufacturing operations in Korea.
  • The next phase is to quickly scale operations to full production capacity with the launch of the global next-generation C-CUV crossover vehicle planned for early 2023.
  • Domestic sales to expand as part of the two-track plan for both locally produced vehicles and imported vehicles leveraging GM’s global footprint to give Korean customers more choice.

“GM Korea is proud to be Korea’s largest foreign direct investor, indirectly supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the supply base, and contributing significantly to the economic development and stability of the automotive industry,” said Kazem. “We have come a long way on our journey following the establishment of our turnaround plan for Korea back in 2018. It has refocused our strategy for our manufacturing operations and the domestic market through two key vehicle platforms, with significant investments to build world-class products to lead and win the hearts and minds of our export and domestic customers and drive our operations to full scale and competitiveness.”

Kazem announced the expansion of the imported vehicle product portfolio. According to the plan, the Tahoe – Chevrolet’s flagship model – is planned to be launched in the domestic market in the first quarter of next year. GM Korea also plans to initially launch the GMC Sierra full-size luxury pickup truck.

“Many of our customers have been waiting for this giant since we introduced it first at the Seoul Motor Show in 2019. The Tahoe has been tailored to meet the needs of customers with a sense of style and adventure, with a splash of boldness,” said Kazem. “Based on the success of the Colorado, in response to increasing interest in GM’s outstanding trucks, we plan to launch a new full-size truck, the GMC Sierra, the beginning of a new premium brand. With these new launches, our customers can expect and deserve more, with each new model offering an enhanced customer experience.”

Engineers in Korea are a critical part of GM’s transformation journey: “GM is doubling the number of engineers in Korea dedicated to global EV programs by 2023.”

Rempel shared how the Technical Center in Korea has been part of GM’s triple zero vision and its plan to expand its EV engineering capabilities.

  • GMTCK is the second-largest engineering center in GM and the largest outside the U.S. It has more than 3,000 engineers, designers and technicians. Its facilities are capable of full vehicle development, from creative design to final vehicle validation and production.
  • Continuous investments made include hiring 200 new engineers and upgrading facilities to adjust to a more collaborative work environment and new technologies; and introducing new digital tools and high-quality displays at the Design Center, new test facilities such as an autonomous vehicle test road at the Cheong-na Proving Ground, and new offices and IT tools at the Engineering Center.
  • For GM’s all-electric future plans, 500 Korean engineers are currently working on global EV programs with the Ultium platform, and the number will be doubled to engage with GM’s future mobility technologies.

“I am very proud to say that we play a key role for GM Global Engineering, by designing vehicles and propulsion systems, manufacturing equipment and currently running at full capacity, supporting more than 20 global vehicle programs across various GM brands,” said Rempel.

Rempel revealed the ongoing investments to be made in the Technical Center in Korea, saying: “We have been preparing for the future by hiring about 200 young engineers and designers through internship programs and upgrading our facilities for a more collaborative work environment and to enable new technologies.”

He added that Korea engineering is part of GM’s global growth strategies to be transformed into a platform innovator. “Designing efficient and safe internal combustion engine vehicles is also part of supporting GM’s transformation to EVs. The Trailblazer has been a global success from the Korea engineering team, and the new C-CUV program will be a continued success,” said Rempel. “Now our role In GM’s EV strategy is expanding. We have started supporting GM global engineering on next-gen EV programs, based on the flexible Ultium platform and Ultifi technology. This is phenomenal for our future and a great sign of the trust from GM in us in Korea.”

GM Korea Company (GM Korea), which is based in Incheon, Korea, was established in 2002 and has about 10,000 employees. In 2020, GM Korea sold 82,954 units in Korea and exported about 285,499 finished vehicles around the world. Additional information on GM Korea and its products can be found at www.gm-korea.co.kr.

GM Technical Center Korea Co., LTD was created in January 2019, to efficiently lead the development of GM’s global vehicles. Located at GM Korea’s Bupyeong headquarters in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon, the company has professional vehicle engineering operations and facilities. They include a design center, a vehicle engineering center, manufacturing engineering operations and the Cheong-na Proving Ground. About 3,000 engineers are engaged in the engineering of GM’s cutting-edge global products. GM Technical Center Korea has led and cooperated with global R&D centers in the engineering of the Chevrolet Spark, Trax, Cruze, Bolt EV and other products. It has led the engineering of a global sub-compact SUV, the Trailblazer, to successfully launch it in the market, and will take the lead on R&D programs for GM’s major global vehicles such as CUV-type products in the future.

WEBSITE

https://media.gm.com/media/kr/ko/chevrolet/home.html

Contacts

GM Korea Media Communications

Byeongsoo Kim byeongsoo.kim@gm.com (010-3283-8617)

Seungyoon Ryu seungyoon.ryu@gm.com (010-5428-8493)

Sooyoung Kim Sooyoung.kim@gm.com (010-5138-8535)

Weber Shandwick Korea

Liz Choi lchoi@webershandwick.com (010-3440-4737)

Kenny Jeong kjeong@webershandwick.com (010-3000-7345)