GM will debut new chevrolet Spark in 2015Jul 31th, 2013
General Motors Co. plans to launch the new Chevrolet Spark minicar in 2015, but will delay the launch of its revamped Aveo subcompact, a South Korean labor union spokesman said.
The Spark, also sold as the Matiz, is Chevrolet’s best-selling model in Europe while the Aveo is No. 3 after the Cruze compact.
GM has also advised the union it will build the next Spark and Aveo cars in Korea, spokesman Choi Jong-hak said, dispelling local industry concerns that the automaker may shift some production of the models out of the country.
GM Korea’s management briefed union negotiators on its plans during annual wage talks that ended last week, Choi said.
“The management said it originally planned to launch the redesigned Aveo in late 2015, but the plan was pushed back. It also said it will produce the new Spark in the first half of 2015,” Choi said, without elaborating.
A GM Korea spokesman declined to comment, saying the company did not disclose its future product plans.
GM’s Korean division exports the Spark and Aveo (also sold as the Sonic) cars to the United States, Europe and other countries, and makes knockdown kits of the cars for assembly in Uzbekistan and other countries.
The Spark is built at GM Korea’s plant in the southeastern city of Changwon, and the Aveo is produced at its headquarters in Bupyeong, outside of Seoul.
GM Korea said it sold 215,177 Sparks at home and abroad last year, and exports accounted for nearly 70 percent of the Spark’s sales.
The Spark/Matiz accounted for 20,320 units out of Chevrolet’s 74,384 sales in Europe in the first half, according to JATO Dynamics. Cruze sales were 18,872 while 14,885 Aveos were sold in the region. Chevrolet’s European market share dropped to 1.2 percent from 1.5 percent during the period.
GM Korea has been GM’s major Asian manufacturing base and engineering-design hub for its minicars and subcompacts. But concerns are growing that GM may reduce its presence in Korea, after it said it would not build the next Cruze in the country.
GM has postponed the launch of the next Cruze by a year due to engineering changes and a desire to squeeze more sales from the car before it is redesigned, people familiar with the automaker’s plans said.
The Cruze had originally been scheduled to debut in late 2014, but will now begin production in December 2015, said the sources, most of whom asked not to be identified in discussing GM’s plans.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report
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