GM opens proving ground in Korea

SEOUL — GM Daewoo Auto & Technology opened a $100 million proving ground in Korea on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

The proving ground underlines GM Daewoo’s growing importance as General Motors boosts its operations in Asia.

The company projects all sales and knockdown kit exports to reach 1.8 million units this year. Last year, GM Daewoo made about 1.5 million vehicles, including knockdown units. Of those, only 128,000 were sold in Korea.

The Chevrolet Aveo and Suzuki Forenza cars, both sold in the United States, are produced by GM Daewoo.

GM has invested about $4 billion in GM Daewoo since acquiring it in October 2002 and plans to invest billions more in the next few years. GM Daewoo’s sales rose 25.7 percent in the first 10 months of this year.

GM CEO Rick Wagoner, speaking at the opening, said GM Daewoo’s export business has been “unbelievable.”

“There are a number of new products in the pipeline, ambitious plans to deliver those products to Korea and around the world,” Wagoner said.

Construction of the 477,000-square-meter Cheong-Na Proving Ground began in October 2005. The city of Incheon gave GM a 30-year rent-free lease of the land.

Nick Reilly, president of GM Asia Pacific, who led GM Daewoo through its first four years, says r&d in China and Korea will complement each other.

Jim Queen, GM group vice president of global engineering, said the proving ground will shorten the time it takes GM to bring products to market.

Nov. 7, 2007 | Automotive News