General Saturday July 31, 2010 12:33
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 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.
“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,” Apfel noted.
According to Apfel, the Thai market is slated to grow above 6.5 percent this year and YTD sales rose 24 percent. Indonesia had the best figures in June ever, while Malaysia also had a record first half, registering a growth of 20 percent year-on-year. In total, Chevrolet sales in Southeast Asia rose 22.9 perecent from the same period in 2009.
“We are growing our local engineering capabilities and expanding our local engineering centre by 20 percent. We need to build where we sell and for that to happen, we need even more localization,” Apfel said.
“We do regular webchats 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.
“By investing USD500 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 Apfel.
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,” Apfel said.
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