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01 Aug 10 20:05
GM South East Asia - Builds Foundation for Expansion
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GM South East Asia Builds Foundation for Expansion and Growth

General Motors focuses on aggressive plans to achieve fair market share.

Foundation for growth will focus on building relationships with customers, dealers and employees, while developing superior quality products and enhancing Chevrolet's ownership experience.

Fresh investment of USD 500 million in diesel engine plant and other projects enhance GM's competitiveness and readiness to serve growing markets.

Bangkok: General Motors Southeast Asian Operations (GMSEA) will lay the foundation and drive the next stage of growth in Thailand and the Southeast Asian region via aggressive plans involving customers, dealers and employees.

Mr Martin Apfel, President of GMSEA, General Motors (Thailand) Limited (GMTH) and Chevrolet Sales (Thailand) Limited (CST) will focus on positioning Southeast Asia at the forefront of GM's global operations and achieve a fair share of the Southeast Asian market.

Areas Mr Apfel will be looking into to achieve this include fostering engagement with key stakeholders and building relationships, developing quality products and enhancing service levels. At the retail end, Chevrolet will also become more customer-focused.

Mr Apfel pointed to the successful launches of various models in other markets in the region, which are bolstered by encouraging numbers and trends in the Asian region. "GM set all-time first half sales records in key emerging markets like China, India, Brazil, Argentina and Egypt. Korean deliveries were up 28 percent while in Australia, GM Holden deliveries increased by 22 percent," Mr Apfel noted.

He continued, "Key markets in Southeast Asia are booming, especially within the ASEAN ‘Big Three’ – Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand."

According to Mr Apfel, the Thai market is slated to grow above 6.5% this year and YTD sales rose 24%. Indonesia had the best figures in June ever, while Malaysia also had a record first half, registering a growth of 20 % year-on-year. In total, Chevrolet sales in Southeast Asia rose 22.9% from the same period in 2009.

One of the ways in which GMSEA will lay the foundation for growth includes growing local engineering capabilities.

"We are growing our local engineering capabilities and expanding our local engineering center by 20%. We need to build where we sell and for that to happen, we need even more localization," Mr Apfel said.

Building closer relationships with employees is also another area that will help sustain growth. GMSEA will focus on getting employees to be more engaged, informed and making them a part of everything GM does.

"We do regular web chats with our people around the region." He added, "Every leader at GM Thailand mentors young talents. Every leader teaches. One of my goals – and a part of the foundation for growth -- is to bring those who build the cars closer to those who sell the cars. And to bring all of us closer to the customer."

GMTH also sent 600 production line team members to be trained at its dealers' showrooms nationwide to obtain direct experience and feedback from clients. These activities were to lay the groundwork for the company's future product development.

Another area GMTH looked at enhancing was after-sale services. CST has been working closely with its dealers in developing service quality and creating optimal customer satisfaction.

"By investing USD 500 million in a new diesel engine plant and into new product programs at Rayong, GM makes one of the largest commitments to a country right here in Thailand. Our new plant will manufacture 4-cylinder advanced diesel engines for our locally produced vehicles and for export. It will also open us up for business with a whole new set of great suppliers that will expand their capacity in this country and create new employment." said Mr Apfel.

On the subject of customers, Mr Apfel said that GM will aim to take care of them better and respect each of them with their individual needs, meeting their aspirations with its products and services.

Mr Apfel added, "I answer every email myself. I meet customers at dealerships handing over new vehicles or when they have a problem, or. We invite customers for product seminars and I host customer appreciation dinners. We hold product clinics in the region, testing future designs and tailoring product execution to customer feedback."

While on the subject of new products, Apfel took the opportunity to share some of the successful product launches in the region including the Chevrolet Spark in Indonesia and the Chevrolet Cruze in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

"The Chevrolet Cruze is the key product coming to the region. It's a dramatic re-interpretation of the traditional sedan featuring Chevrolet’s new global design language that is becoming a signature on all new products. It will further define Chevrolet with its design, quality, materials and great style – inside and out,"
Mr Apfel said.

The audience was also given a sneak peak of the soon-to-be-launched Chevrolet Cruze as it made a brief appearance on stage.

In summary, Mr Apfel said: "This is our plan. Engage people. Grow Relationships. Launch great products. Show commitment and always focus on the customer. This is the new GM."

About General Motors:

General Motors, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, USA, GM employs 217,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, FAW, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com or www.gmthailand.com
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