SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — GM Korea President Kaher Kazem addressed concerns regarding a possible pullout from South Korea at the company’s headquarters in the Bupyeong District of Incheon on September 6.
As part of the face-to-face with the media, reporters were given access to the normally off-limits Design Center where they got a chance to take in developments like 3D graphics and augmented reality based digital design, automotive color and trim designs and clay models of preliminary car designs.
Kazem kicked off the press conference by emphasizing the importance of the design center to GM’s global interests. “GM Korea’s manufacturing, design and R&D play an important role in GM’s overall global business. The design center in particular is evidence of GM Korea’s capabilities,” he declared.
He further stated, “GM currently operates in the most optimal markets where its long-term goals of increasing profitability and performance and increased growth are possible. South Korea is one of them.”
“South Korea is the fifth-largest market in the world for Chevrolet and is growing fast. At the moment, the company is focusing on improving business competitiveness. Collaboration with insiders and outsiders of the company are the basis on which we are improving our profitability and competitiveness.”
Improving profitability has been a core target for Kazem since he was appointed as president on September 1. His emphasis on profitability has given industry experts reason to believe that even without a total pullout, there would most likely be some restructuring within the company.
The Bupyeong design center is the second-largest out of six such facilities operated worldwide by GM. It currently employs around 180.
The center first opened its doors in 1983 as part of Daewoo Motors’ R&D division. After the company’s sale to GM, the design center was doubled in size and remodeled in 2014 through a 40 billion won investment.
GM’s investment has borne fruit as the Spark EV and Bolt EV electric cars were developed in-house at the Bupyeong design center. Other models partially developed at the South Korean location were the Spark, Trax and Aveo. The center also assisted in the design of GM’s flagship rides from Buick and Cadillac.