Union Miffed as GM Korea Shoots for Impala, Misses

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 6:51 PM

Disheartened senior executive with the GM Korea department of the Korean Metal Workers Union declare GM Korea’s previous CEO, Sergio Rocha, had promised the automaker would produce the Impala in Korea if annual sales reached 10.000 units.

Union Miffed as GM Korea Shoots for Impala, Misses

Disappointing GM Korea workers who'd pressed to construct the Chevrolet Impala locally, Common Motors announces it'll continue importing the fullsize sedan from GM’s Hamtramck, MI, assembly plant.

Disheartened senior executive with the GM Korea department of the Korean Metal Workers Union declare GM Korea’s previous CEO, Sergio Rocha, had promised the automaker would produce the Impala in Korea if annual sales reached 10.000 units.

A union source says that when James Kim succeeded Rocha as CEO in January, he raised the target that'd qualify the Impala for local production to 30.000 units.

GM Korea contends Rocha never made a concrete promise and, moreover, a vol of 10.000 vehicles was too low to generate a profit for a newly launched vehicle considering the competitiveness of the fullsize vehicle market and high work costs at its Korean plants.

On the other hand, with the benefits of the new Korea-U. S. free-trade agreement, the Impala is being imported at an appealing price that's enabling it to create substantial inroads in Korea. It's holding its own in the competitive section against the Hyundai Grandeur and Kia K7.

In some respects, selling the Impala in Korea could be viewed as a test case for exporting the model from the U. S. Korea is the first foreign market to start selling it as an imported vehicle.

A GM Korea official tells WardsAuto the Impala has surpassed the 10.000-delivery label since its sales launch in Korea in September. It sold 2.009 units in March and 4.815 in the first quarter, bringing cumulative sales to 11.728.

Despite losing out on Impala production, the company official confirms GM Korea soon will start building the next-generation Malibu, with Korean sales launching in May. The new vehicle is expected to boost production at the Bupyeong plant, where the current-generation Malibu has been in production since two thousand eleven, when the former GM Daewoo Auto & Technology changed its title to GM Korea and all Korea-built vehicles were rebranded Chevrolets.

The union leadership had wanted the Impala to be produced in Bupyeong, a suburb of Incheon.

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