German automakers gain ground in South Korea, outselling General Motors for first time

BMW saw the biggest jump with February sales nearly doubling to 6,118 vehicles, industry data showed. (Reuters)
Updated 07 March 2018

German automakers gain ground in South Korea, outselling General Motors for first time

SEOUL: Mercedes and BMW both sold more cars in South Korea than General Motors for the first time last month, helped by the growing popularity of German premium brands and as consumers shied away from GM after it announced a major restructuring.
While home-grown automakers Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors dominate the local market, high-end German vehicles have made inroads in recent years with more diverse offerings for brand-conscious consumers.
BMW saw the biggest jump with February sales nearly doubling to 6,118 vehicles, industry data showed. That was just a tad behind Mercedes which led the imported car rankings with 6,192 cars, up 12 percent from the same period a year earlier.
South Korea last year became the sixth biggest market for Mercedes, climbing from eighth place.
GM’s announcement last month that it plans to shut down of one of its four factories in South Korea and was weighing the fate of the three other plants resulted in domestic retail sales nearly halving in February to 5,804.
With consumers worried about loss of after-care services and residual value, GM lost its long-held spot as South Korea’s No. 3 automaker, slipping to sixth place.
The US automaker, whose South Korean operations are primarily geared toward exports, is seeking financial aid from Seoul as well as concessions on wages and benefits from its local union to stay operating in the country.
Talks with the labor union on Wednesday failed to produce concrete results although some 2,500 workers have applied for voluntary redundancy package.
“We hope to wrap up talks with the labor union and the government swiftly,” a GM Korea spokesman said.
“A drawn-out restructuring will hurt consumer trust,” he added.


India to invest $1.46 trillion to lift virus-hit economy

Updated 15 August 2020

India to invest $1.46 trillion to lift virus-hit economy

  • Modi announced a national digital heath plan under which every Indian will get an identity card containing all health-related information
  • Modi said the government has identified 7,000 infrastructure projects to offset the economic impact of the pandemic
NEW DELHI: India’s prime minister said Saturday his country has done well in containing the coronavirus pandemic and announced $1.46 trillion infrastructure projects to boost the sagging economy.
The key lesson India learnt from the pandemic is to become self-reliant in manufacturing and developing itself as a key supply chain destination for international companies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
“The coronavirus epidemic is a big crisis, but it can’t stall India’s economic progress,’’ Modi said in a speech from New Delhi’s 17th century Mughal-era Red Fort to mark 74 years of the country’s independence from British rule. He wore an orange and white turban with a long scarf around his neck.
He also said that three vaccines are in different phases of testing in India and it will start mass production as soon as it got a green light from scientists. “Detailed plans are in place for large-scale production of corona vaccine and making it available to every Indian,” he said.
India’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain’s this week to become the fourth-highest in the world as the country reported over 2.5 million confirmed cases, just behind the US and Brazil.
Modi also announced a national digital heath plan under which every Indian will get an identity card containing all health-related information.
The celebrations were curtailed on Saturday because of the pandemic, with invitations going only to 4,000 guests instead of normal 20,000, media reports said.
The International Monetary Fund projected a contraction of 4.5 percent for the Indian economy in 2020, a “historic low,” but said the country is expected to bounce back in 2021.
Modi said the government has identified 7,000 infrastructure projects to offset the economic impact of the pandemic.
“Infrastructure will not be created in silos anymore. All infrastructure has to be comprehensive, integrated and linked to each other. Multi-modal connectivity infrastructure is the way forward,” he said.
He said that India saw a record 18 percent jump in foreign direct investment in the past year, a signal that the international companies are looking at the country.
Modi didn’t refer to China directly, but India is trying to capitalize on its rival’s rising production costs and deteriorating ties with the United States and European nations to become a replacement home for large multinationals.
Referring to border tensions with China in the Ladakh area, he said Indian forces had given a befitting response in the mountainous region where thousands of soldiers from the two countries remain in a tense standoff since May. India said 20 of its troops died in hand combat with Chinese troops on June 15.
“Whether it’s terrorism or expansionism, India is fighting the challenges bravely,” Modi said in apparent references to threats from neighboring Pakistan and China.