After Indonesia retreat, GM retrenches in Thailand, too

Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:04am EST
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By Norihiko Shirouzu and Ben Klayman

(Reuters) - A day after announcing it is to stop making GM-branded cars in Indonesia, General Motors (GM.N: Quote) said on Friday it would cease production of its Chevrolet Sonic in Thailand by the middle of this year.

While GM will still sell cars like the Cruze sedan in parts of Southeast Asia, an emerging markets battleground for global automakers, it is shifting focus to push the 'American heritage' of its SUVs and pickups such as the Trailblazer and Colorado.

The restructuring - under Executive Vice President Stefan Jacoby, who oversees markets beyond the Americas, Europe and China - marks a retrenchment in Asia by the U.S. automaker. While business grows in China, the world's biggest autos market, GM has struggled in other parts of its international operations unit, which doesn't include China.

The Detroit-based automaker has signaled overall restructuring charges of about $700 million this year, and said last month it expected an improved consolidated operating performance from Jacoby's International Operations unit.

GM's Thai plant in Rayong, an industrial city southeast of Bangkok, will be scaled down from current annual capacity of 180,000 vehicles. The company did not elaborate, but said it would initiate a "voluntary separation program" for staff. In total, GM employs around 3,200 people in Thailand.

In Indonesia, GM said on Thursday it would cease production of the Chevrolet Spin by end-June and shutter a factory at Bekasi, just outside Jakarta, which employs around 500 people.


Workers walk next to new Chevrolet Spin MPVs during the official launch of the General Motors plant in Bekasi, on the outskirts of Jakarta in this February 19, 2013 file photo.    REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni/Files