Apparently, General Motors's decision to depart from unprofitable markets has created more issues for its business operations across South Korea, which had manufactured many Chevrolet auto brands that GM had offered in Europe.
"We have a very bad trade deal with Korea", Trump said during a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to discuss steel and aluminium imports. It has shut down its manufacturing operations in Australia, abandoned its retail network in India, walked out of the Russian and South African markets, and sold off its European Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary to France's PSA.
GM's move to shrink its South Korean operations is the latest in a series of steps over the past three years to put profitability and investments in new technology ahead of sales and production volume.
The local arm said it has proposed to its labor union and the South Korean government a concrete plan to remain in the country and turn the loss-making business around, which it said would require the full support of all parties.
"If we are successful in working with our stakeholders to restructure and get to a viable cost structure, we would see an opportunity to invest" in new vehicles, Ammann said.
Closing Gunsan will be costly.
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The Seoul government and GM Korea's union issued statements in response to the carmaker's move to close the Gunsan factory. GM stock has lost just under 1% so far this month as the S&P 500 Index dropped nearly 6%.
GM expects to take up to $850 million in financial charges, including approximately $475 million of non-cash asset impairments and up to $375 million of primarily employee-related cash expenses. Most of the financial writedowns would be recorded by the end of the second quarter.
South Korean officials will hold talks with GM about ways to keep the carmaker's operations open, the finance ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
The firm's key officials state that the shutdown of the unit is a part of its business restructuring plan in Asia. Excluding profits from China, GM said its Asian operations lost money in 2016. GM Korea posted a total of 1.9 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in net losses between 2014 and 2016. GM sold its Opel German operations to Peugeot Citroen a year ago, eliminating another leg of that partnership. Declining sales of small cars in the United States have also hurt demand for Korean-made Chevrolets.
GM isn't leaving South Korea altogether, but shutting down a single facility in Gunsan which is says has been running at a mere 20 percent of capacity for the past three years.
That won't be cheap: Gunsan now employs about 2,000 workers, and GM expects to take a one-time charge of "up to $375 million" in employee-related expense. A decision regarding the future of GM Korea is expected within the week. China's SAIC Motor Corp. owns 6 percent, while GM has the remainder.