Weakening export demand has contributed to a sales decline for GM’s South Korean arm in 2013, with the division selling 780,518 vehicles in 2013 compared to 800,635 units in 2012. Though while sales of Korean-built GM vehicles intended to be sold outside the country dropped, domestic sales in Korea rose 3.7 percent, according to reports.
Notably, with 60,969 units sold, the Chevrolet Spark was GM Korea’s best-selling vehicle in domestic and export markets, but shipments for the Korean-built Spark and Aveo fell 3.9 percent to 629,478 units. Since General Motors builds Chevrolets intended for sale in Europe in South Korea, its manufacturing operations in the country serve to satisfy domestic (Korean) as well as international (European) demand.
The news of the 2.5 percent sales drop comes on the heels of GM confirming plans to shutter or significantly diminish design and engineering operations in South Korea, along with the possibility of ceasing vehicle production in the country after 2015. The possibility of shutter manufacturing operations in South Korea after 2015 would roughly coincide with a closure of Australian manufacturing operations. To make matters worse for South Korean production, The General has also announced plans to discontinue offering mainstream-segment Chevrolet vehicles in Europe, a move that will likely result in an even further drop of Chevrolet production and export-market sales in South Korea.