Where will the electric 2013 Chevrolet Spark be built? Well, if you asked that question of General Motors, then this is the answer you'd likely receive:

No location of production has been decided yet.

Those are the quoted words of a GM Korea spokesman, according to Ward's Auto. If, however, that same question were posed to Mark Modica, associate fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center, you'll get a different answer. Modica says he has it "on good authority" that the Spark will be built in Korea.

According to Modica, GM North America director of communications, Greg Martin, admitted that both the conventional and electric versions of the U.S.-bound Chevy Spark will be manufactured in South Korea.

Two conflicting stories, that's for sure. So, which one is more accurate? Well, considering that both the gasoline- and diesel-fueled Sparks are currently built in South Korea, there is some logic to the idea that the electric minicar being manufactured there, too.Without an official word from GM, we'll keep the Spark's country of origin a big question mark.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Government Motors, the welfare car company, selling out its benefactors? Tell me it isn't true.
      lne937s
      • 3 Years Ago
      Since GM is only planning on selling 2000 of these, almost all in California, it wouldn't surprise me if they import the shell from Korea and install the batteries near the port. Not nessicarily the most efficient way to do it, but in such small quantities, it may make sense rather than having to adapt the production line and coordinate complicated supplier logistics...
      Danaon
      • 3 Years Ago
      As they have plans to sell the ICE Spark in the US as well, I would almost guarantee it will be built in South Korea. They were barely able to build the Sonic in the US due to union wages and squeeze out a profit, and that was after jumping through a lot of hoops to make the plant way more efficient. That being said it's not like South Koreans can't build cars. I would expect them to ship finished shells for further assembly to the US for the EV components to be installed. They could in theory ship the EV components to South Korea but that is a longer supply chain and probably more expensive.
      wolverine000036
      • 3 Years Ago
      the cheapest gas powered spark will mspr around $11,500. So I dont think there is that big of a profit margin on them. I heard it was actually considered building the spark in Lordstown Ohio but with the low profit margin and the fact that the Cruze is selling 20K units per month there wasnt enough capacity.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I thought something was going on in the USA called the American Job Plan
      wolverine000036
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have heard one of three diffrent locations is possible.. Ramos Arizpe Mexico, South Korea and Lordstown Ohio.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well . . . A123 is building a battery manufacturing facility in Livonia, Michigan so I kinda assumed the Spark (which will use A123 batteries) would be built in Michigan. http://ir.a123systems.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=506787
        LEONARD
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        we need the model t or vw bug of ev's building the car in Michigan with Unions makes the car a non player
          Michael
          • 3 Years Ago
          @LEONARD
          Why Michigan? There are plenty of places in this country that need jobs. What we really need is a push by both US companies that are focused on EV tech and the Government to put the US in the lead for a new technology that will be at the forefront of travel and power for the next century, i.e. sink cash into the research and development before others take a lead we can't catch.
        Michael
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Just because 1 component of a vehicle is being manufactured in the US doesn't mean the thing will be put together there. Hopefully GM has a plant in the US at which they are planning on building the thing, but don't hold your breath, it's a global corporation that's worried about making money. It would most likely be cheaper for them to build it in South Korea and ship it Stateside, especially now that we've just signed a Trade pact with SK. 2 steps forward, 1 step back, and so goes the slow process of making the economy work for the non-rich.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          @Micheal What you say is very true, multinational corporations cannot afford to be partisan. However, everyone seems to forget that GM repatriates it's profits back home to US shareholders. Australia may export GM products to the US, but Australia also exports profits to US shareholders. However, nothing prevents Australians becoming GM shareholders.... (Incidentally, few large publicly owned corporations hold lard reserves of cash. The reasons are two-fold, the fear of becoming targets for corporate raiders, and shareholder discontent. The only exceptions are oil companies)
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          @Michael Yes, I agree, return for the stockholders is the point. Besides the headquarters, they also have plenty of assembly capacity. The wage arbitrage between South Korea and Michigan is probably not very large at all and the cost of shipping big heavy objects back & forth across oceans probably outweighs it. I'm not making a protectionist argument, I'm making an economic argument. The high price of oil doesn't just create a market for EVs, it also changes the economics of global trade. And shipping large bulky heavy objects repeatedly across oceans becomes economically impractical. The US steel industry is doing better now because it is not as cheap to ship iron ore from Brazil to Chinese steel factories, create the steel, and then ship it over the USA. The same will be true for batteries that are largely made out of metal.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          Of course. But when that 1 component is the biggest & heaviest component in the vehicle and it is being manufactured near the auto maker's headquarters, it is not an unreasonable assumption to think that it is likely that the car will be built there. Why ship battery source materials to Michigan and then ship big heavy batteries to Korea, and then ship big heavy cars back to the USA?
          Michael
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          Spec, I hear you, but again it's all down to the accountants. If it is cheaper for GM to build the car in SK and ship it to the states, than build it in the states, then that's what GM SHOULD do. Roy had a great point. Maybe it would be the most economical for the car to be built in SK and have the battery that's built in Michigan inserted after the car comes stateside. You'll never know until you can look at the internal numbers. That said, I'd much rather they build it here, but I'm not a stockholder (Ford Baby!). If I were, I'd much rather they build it wherever makes the most economic sense.
          DB
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          ...or maybe the batteries come from A123's Korean factory? http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/by-the-numbers-a123-systems/
          Michael
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          Spec, What does where GM's Headquarters have to do with anything? I'll tell you, absolutely nothing. As for shipping the battery pack from the US to Korea and back, well that's up to the bean counters. If it's cheaper to do so than to produce the vehicle here, then so be it. Why, because GM is not in business to employ US workers. They are in business to provide a return to their shareholders. How much would it cost for GM to prep a plant in Michigan and hire/train a workforce to build the Spark versus what they already have in South Korea. Take that, minus the shipping cost. If GM comes out ahead by building the Spark EV in Michigan then they will. Face it, companies, especially those as large as GM, have no allegiance to any 1 country and will produce their products wherever in the world that they can create the largest return for their shareholders. That is actually the job of those at the top of the company. Hence why the US still has an unemployment rate over 9% while corporations are sitting on more cash then they've EVER had in the bank.
          DB
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          Its likely these batteries aren't made in the US, but in one of A123's two new Chinese factories. They build these factories to support SAIC's EV program. Since GM and SAIC are partners in EV technology, odds are the batteries for the Spark are coming from China too. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/08/business/la-fi-green-manufacturing-20100509
          Roy_H
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          Maybe they will build most of the Spark in Korea, and do final assembly in the USA. This is usually the model that gives the best tax breaks as then they can give it a made in USA stamp. That is what Th!nk did, build the cars in Finland and ship to USA to add Enerdel batteries, and somehow everyone thinks that just because the plant in Finland went bankrupt was no reason could not continue building the cars here.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So that's why he signed the free trade agreement finally.
      seamusdubh
      • 3 Years Ago
      To quote my favorite line from Armageddon: "Russian parts. American parts. ALL MADE IN TAIWAN!!!" But I digress. Welcome to the modern globalized economy. Where the savings from the cost of labor, lack environmental and safety regulations, outweigh shipping fees.
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