* Jacoby says Australia plant shutdown offers "a lot of
* GM is building puzzle pieces together globally - Jacoby
* GM incoming CEO Barra says committed to Korean market
By Hyunjoo Jin
DETROIT, Jan 14 A top executive with General
Motors said on Tuesday a planned shutdown of the
automaker's plants in Australia could allow South Korea to ship
more cars to the region.
General Motors said last month it would stop making cars in
Australia by 2017 due to high costs and a cripplingly strong
currency. The announcement came after the U.S. automaker said it
plans to pull the Chevrolet brand out of Europe by the end of
2015 to concentrate on Opel.
"We are building our puzzle pieces together for the
international markets," Stefan Jacoby, GM's new international
operations chief, told reporters on the sidelines of the Detroit
He said the planned shutdown of the Australian plants offers
"a lot of opportunity," adding there was a "good likelihood"
South Korea would ship more cars to Australia given a bilateral
trade deal. Jacoby said no decision had been made yet.
The Chevy pullout plan sparked jitters in Korea about
restructuring of GM Korea's operations, which supply most of the
Chevy cars sold in Europe.
Mary Barra, the incoming CEO of General Motors, told
reporters that GM "remains very committed to the Korean market."
When asked about concerns about higher labour costs in South
Korea, she said, "From a competitive perspective it (labour
cost) is very important. So it's something that we continually
She did not comment on whether GM's increased production in
China would lead to reduced output in the neighboring South
"...as I said our general intent is to build where we sell.
And I don't have any specific. I mean we are continually
evaluating what is the most optimal but no specific comments on