Following the decision to withdraw its Chevrolet brand from Europe, General Motors is planning to trim its South Korean workforce.
According to GM Korea CEO Sergio Rocha, the automaker will launch a “voluntary retirement” program open to its 6,000 salaried workers by March, representing GM’s fourth round of job cuts since 2009. The General, however, is not looking to slash production positions, and is instead focused on shedding research and design staff.
The layoffs will be conducted in the form of a voluntary retirement program, with 6,000 salaried employees eligible to apply for the scheme. Of the 6,000 salaried workers, roughly 2,000 are research and design staff.
“This is part of our ongoing efforts to enhance operating efficiency,” said GM spokesperson Park Hae-ho. He did not disclose a target for the job reductions.
Earlier this month, GM shocked many with an announcement to drop the Chevrolet brand from the European market by the end of 2015. The automaker will instead focus on its twin Opel and Vauxhall marques to return to profitability in the region. Discontinuing Chevy in Europe is expected to result in a 20 percent production drop in South Korea by 2015.
Speaking on the basis of anonymity, a GM Korea research and design employee told Reuters that the center is working to complete the development of the next-gen Spark in March of 2014 ahead of a 2015 launch of the city car. After that, the center would have no more projects on which to work on.