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GM Korea not to produce Impala premium sedan in S. Korea

All Headlines 14:49 April 05, 2016

SEOUL, April 5 (Yonhap) -- GM Korea Co., the local unit of U.S. carmaker General Motors Co., said Tuesday that it has decided to continue to import the popular Impala premium sedan, citing cost efficiency and other benefits over possibly producing it locally.

"Following thorough and comprehensive research on the feasibility of the localization of the Impala, the company finally decided that it is more appropriate to continue to import the sedan than localization," the company said in an emailed press release.

The company explained that the decision was based on its belief that it would "satisfy the customers' demand" and "actively and flexibly meet the environment regulations in terms of product portfolio."

The decision came after a months-long debate over its possible local production with some, including its labor union, raising the need to secure a more stable and timely supply and meet growing demand. The Impala is currently produced at its Detroit plant.

The Impala was introduced to the South Korean market in September, drawing a favorable market response ever since. GM Korea earlier hinted at pushing for its domestic production should its sales exceed 10,000 units on an annual basis.

Company data showed that GM Korea sold nearly 7,000 units of the Impala last year alone, with its monthly sales standing at around 1,400 units. Its sales have recently surpassed the allegedly promised 10,000-mark.

Its labor union has claimed that the better-than-expected sales prompted GM Korea to hike the bar to 30,000 units, calling on the management to keep its word. The company has said that it has never proposed any detailed preconditions for domestic production.

Last month, GM Korea CEO James Kim told reporters that he is looking into the localization matter, but noted it is a very "important" and a "tough" decision that needs more time to make.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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