Vince Courtenay


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


GM Korea, Union Talks Break Down Over TV Monitoring
No new talks have been scheduled since an eighth bargaining session scheduled for Thursday, April 12, was short-circuited when the union refused to allow closed-circuit cameras in the negotiating room.
No Talks Set As GM Korea’s Fiscal Tailspin Continues
GM Korea hopes to receive interim financing from the Korea Development Bank, but this cannot be provided until completion of a labor agreement that freezes wages and bonuses this year. No talks with the Korea Metal Workers Union are scheduled.
GM Korea Still Pressing Union for Pay, Bonus Freeze
The union’s conditions for accepting a wage and bonus freeze include GM Korea guaranteeing no layoffs for 10 years, issuing company stock to workers in amounts that exceed their 2017 wage and bonus payments and retaining all current benefits.
GM Korea Ties Wage Freeze to Averting Bankruptcy
If the GM Korea branch of the Korea Metal Workers Union rejects the proposed freeze, the automaker will miss an April 20 deadline for submitting a restructuring and turnaround plan and will have no choice but to file for bankruptcy, GM International President Barry Engle has told union leaders.
Renault Samsung to Launch Electric Van in Korea
A spokesman declines to identify the electric van but says there are several options, including importing it from Europe and producing it locally at the company’s Busan plant. He says Renault Samsung hopes to launch the van by year-end.
GM Korea to Cut 5,000 Jobs, Loses $738M in 2017
Analysts believe disclosure of the job cuts will further downgrade the Chevrolet brand in Korea, already facing negative consumer reaction to GM’s announcement it will close GM Korea’s Gunsan plant this May.
GM Korea Yanks U.S. Execs, Slashes Local Staff
The staffing moves are the latest tactic by the unit’s Detroit-based parent General Motors, which is conducting an estimated 3 trillion won ($2.8 billion) overhaul of its operations on the peninsula.
Hyundai Reveals Kona Electric Vehicle
The new model features short- and long-range drivetrain options with ranges of 180 miles and 282 miles. It is expected to go on sale throughout Europe following the Geneva show.
GM Korea Seeks to Freeze Union Wages, Trim Benefits
An internal company memo says GM Korea is seeking to freeze union members’ wages, limit future pay raises to the inflation rate, eliminate bonuses which last year amounted to roughly $10,000 per worker; and cut certain other benefits.
Union Reports $2.8 Billion GM Korea Bailout Proposed
The Korean Metal Workers Union website reports General Motors has put out the carrot of a Korean-assembled new high-tech car that would sell in all world markets if the union and government support its turnaround plan.
Hyundai Readying Launch of Nexo Fuel-Cell Vehicles
A Hyundai spokesman tells WardsAuto the automaker has targeted 2018 global sales of 3,000 Nexo fuel-cell electric vehicles, more than 12 times the number of Tucson FCEVs sold worldwide last year.
Korean President Rides In, Praises Hyundai’s Nexo AV
Korean President Moon Jae-in says he had been concerned Korea might be behind other nations in developing eco-friendly vehicles, but a ride in the autonomous Nexo hydrogen-electric vehicle showed him otherwise.
GM Korea Sales in Tailspin; No New Models for Plants
No new products for its plants are forthcoming, and industry-watchers see that as a red flag indicating the parent company’s lack of confidence in GM Korea’s sustainability.
GM Korea Vies for Domestic EV Leadership With Bolt
Analysts note 5,000 units is a bold target for GM Korea, considering only 13,724 EVs of all types were sold in Korea in all of 2017.
Hyundai Workers OK Wage Pact; Tentative Deal at Kia
Strikes during 2017 reportedly caused Hyundai to suffer production losses of some 77,000 vehicles valued at 1.62 trillion won in revenue. But the automaker says output of the Kona subcompact CUV, a key new product, has not been affected.