Vince Courtenay


Vince covers South Korea and other markets in the Asia/Pacific region.


Opel Import Cutbacks Latest Dilemma for GM Korea
On learning of Opel’s plan to drastically cut imports, leaders of the GM Korea branch of the Korean Metal Workers Union went to news media encouraging them to write articles demanding the company pledge to not cut production volumes.
Local Leaders Rally Support for Embattled GM Korea
To many, the outpouring of support for the U.S.-owned company is reminiscent of the Korean economic crisis of the late 1990s, when citizens donated family gold jewelry and other precious metals to help refill their nation’s empty coffers.
Korea’s No.4 Automaker Ssangyong Eyeing U.S. Market
Ssangyong Chairman Pawan Goenka is quoted as saying that once the board approves the investment plan it will take 3½ years to enter the U.S. market. That would occur in 2020, when Ssangyong plans to unveil an all-electric SUV, or 2021.
GM Korea Chief Mum on Embattled Automaker’s Future
GM Korea President Kaher Kazem’s failing to directly respond to specific questions about a possible pullout has only intensified speculation that GM indeed may decide to withdraw its operations if analysis indicates recovery is not possible, some analysts believe.
Ssangyong Abandons Plans for China Joint Venture
A Ssangyong spokesman says changes in laws governing foreign automakers’ investments and pending environmental regulations are factors, as is the impact of China’s ongoing boycott of Korean-made products and services.
Union Chiefs Fear New CEO May Pull Plug on GM Korea 4
Short of boosting production to optimum levels by assigning models built elsewhere to GM Korea’s underutilized, high-cost plants, the chances of realizing a profit based on the company’s current performance are considered remote.
Audi, VW Mount Korea Comeback as Dieselgate Fades
Most of the basic Audi and VW models whose sales in Korea were banned in July 2016 have completed recall requirements and are ready to return to market. Several new models have met emissions tests and new, experienced leadership is heading the company.
Kia Suspends Overtime in Korea; Strikes Hit GM Korea
The Korea Metal Workers Union is making the same wage demands at GM Korea, Kia and its Hyundai affiliate, with negotiations on hold at Hyundai.
Big 3 Korean Automakers, Unions Deadlocked on Wages 4
The unions at Hyundai, Kia and GM Korea all are affiliated with the militant Korean Metal Workers Union. All three automakers are being pressed for the same wage and similar bonus demands the KMWU central hierarchy is dictating.
GM Says It’s Not Pulling Out of South Korea
GM Korea’s new CEO points out the company’s role as one of the most vital design, engineering and manufacturing bases in GM’s global operations.
Kia Faces Multimillion-Dollar Payout in Wage Lawsuit
A Korean court ruled Kia might suffer financial strain from the judgment but would not be damaged financially because the automaker has enjoyed several years of good profits and is not facing any management crisis.
More Strikes as Hyundai Union Rejects Latest Wage Offer
Negotiations are continuing, however the union has shown no sign of backing down from its original demand for a monthly raise of 154,883 won and bonuses equal to 30% of 2016 net income prorated among employees.
Partial Strikes Against Hyundai Spread to Kia
The Kia union’s strike action committee will meet Wednesday, Aug. 23, to lay out its plan for possible additional strikes. Hyundai workers, meanwhile, have staged 2-hour strikes on four separate days this month. Production losses are not disclosed.
GM India President Named to Head Korean Operations
Kaher Kazem’s appointment as GM Korea chief partially offsets speculation James Kim’s departure signaled GM is planning to pull out of South Korea.
Hyundai Shows Off New Fuel-Cell Model
The new model will replace the ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle and is part of an aggressive electrification plan to be executed over the next several years.