General Motors International President Barry Engle sat down with the mayor of Incheon, South Korea, amid the automaker’s restructuring effort, Reuters reported on Thursday. The meeting came after a GM earnings call put CFO Chuck Stevens and CEO Mary Barra on the record calling for the restructuring of its South Korean operations.
GM Korea has remained a sore spot on the automaker’s balance sheet. Last year, sales dropped 26.6 percent, and the unit began 2018 with a 34 percent decrease in sales year-over-year. GM Korea’s bread-and-butter business, vehicle exports, was down 6 percent last year, too.\
In a statement, GM Korea said “is continuing a wide range of discussions with its business partners to further improve its competitiveness and cost base. Our goal is a profitable and viable future for GM Korea.”
Engle reportedly told the South Korean mayor that the automaker will seek cooperation in a restructuring plan, but he did specifically mention a pullout from the country. GM has exited numerous markets where it failed to generate returns in the long run. Notably, GM sold off its European operations, exited retail sales in India and ceased manufacturing in Australia.
Aside from the slumping sales in South Korea, GM has also faced rising labor costs in the country compared to other areas ripe for an export business. India is poised to become a major export hub under current plans.