Chevrolet sales in South Korea decreased 17.3 percent to 7,433 units in September 2018.
Individual model sales performance was as follows:
- Chevrolet Aveo sales decreased 78.05 percent to 18 units
- The Aveo is sold as the Chevrolet Sonic in North America
- The Holden-badged Aveo produced by GM Korea and marketed as the Holden Barina in Australia and New Zealand was discontinued in September
- Chevrolet Bolt EV sales increased 191.67 percent to 70 units
- Chevrolet Camaro sales decreased 66.67 percent to 19 units
- Chevrolet Captiva sales decreased 93.18 percent to 9 units
- The Captiva sold in South Korea rides is the extended-length model with three rows of seating on the Theta platform, which dates back to 2006; it is substantially different than the smaller Captiva Sport that was sold in the U.S. as the Saturn Vue or in Europe as the Opel Antara
- Chevrolet Cruze sales decreased 81.29 percent to 78 units
- Chevrolet Damas sales decreased 34.13 percent to 220 units
- The Damas is a small van originally introduced by Daewoo, which GM subsequently bought in the late 1990s
- Chevrolet Equinox sales totaled 185 units
- Chevrolet Impala sales decreased 66.08 percent to 77 units
- Chevrolet Labo sales decreased 19.37 percent to 254 units
- The Labo is a line of small vans and pickups introduced by Daewoo, which GM subsequently bought in the late 1990s
- Chevrolet Malibu sales increased 4.57 percent to 2,290 units
- Chevrolet Orlando sales decreased 100 percent to 0 units; there is reason to believe that the model has been discontinued
- Chevrolet Spark sales decreased 7.01 percent to 3,158 units
- Chevrolet Trax sales decreased 14.01 percent to 1,043 units
- Chevrolet Volt sales totaled 12 units
In the first nine months of 2018, Chevrolet Korea sales decreased 35 percent to 66,311 units.
Sales Results - September 2018 - South Korea - Chevrolet
|MODEL||SEP 2018 / SEP 2017||SEPTEMBER 2018||SEPTEMBER 2017||YTD 2018 / YTD 2017||YTD 2018||YTD 2017|
The GM Authority Take
In the beginning of May, General Motors announced a massive restructuring of its South Korea business unit. Prior to the restructuring announcement, rumors ran rampant that GM could bankrupt its Korean operations and leave the Korean market entirely. These developments appear to have caused a rather steep reduction in consumer confidence in the automaker as well as in Chevrolet, which is more closely associated with General Motors in Korea. As such, we attribute the ongoing drop in Chevy sales in South Korea to lower levels of consumer confidence in GM and Chevrolet.
Another theory for the ongoing decrease in Chevrolet Korea sales is that availability of key locally-manufactured models such as the Spark, Aveo, Cruze, Malibu, Trax and Orlando was negatively impacted by labor strikes during the negotiation process, with inventory not having returned to normal levels. However, that theory no longer seems plausible given that the automaker has now had sufficient time to rebuild inventories.
There is also sufficient evidence of GM Korea has discontinued the Aveo, Orlando and Captiva. GM Authority has reached out to GM Korea for comment on the matter and has given the organization over a month to respond, but has not received a reply as of this writing.
In the last several months, GM Korea sales has been as follows:
- August 2018: Chevrolet Korea sales decreased 26 percent to 7,391 units
- July 2018: Chevrolet Korea sales decreased 17 percent to 9,000 units
- June 2018: Chevrolet Korea sales decreased 16 percent to 9,528 units
- May 2018: Chevrolet Korea sales decreased 35 percent to 7,670 units
- April 2018: Chevrolet Korea sales decreased 57 percent to 5,369 units
GM Korea Restructuring Details
The turnaround plan for GM South Korea involves a $7 billion bailout of the unit (with GM providing $6.4 billion and the Korean Development Bank providing the remaining amount), along with the closure of the GM Gunsan plant and concessions by the local labor union to freeze wages. In addition to the bailout funds, GM will also invest $2 billion over the next 10 years and another $1.6 billion for corporate restructuring and operations. As announced previously, GM will also conduct a debt-to-equity swap totaling $2.2 billion. The move will save GM Korea $110 million in interest payments a year.
Finally, GM will set up a new headquarters office for its GM International division in Korea, as well as bring to market two new crossover utility vehicles and a new three-cylinder engine, with the automaker’s Korea-based vehicle development and manufacturing operations playing a key role in the initiatives.
About The Numbers
- All percent change figures compared to Chevrolet Korea September 2017 sales, except if noted
- South Korea sales figures reflect actual vehicle registrations rather than wholesales