Soaring Orders for Traverse Overwhelm GM

GM Korea's Traverse SUV and Colorado pickup truck.

According to industry officials, GM Korea is being overwhelmed by a high number of orders for its new imported Traverse SUV and Colorado pickup truck. Sales have far exceeded the car maker’s expectations since the line-up’s launch.

The vehicles’ high popularity is a timely boost for the deteriorating sales of the brand. However, it may not be as positive as it seems, given the delay between orders and deliveries, and the recent labor strike by workers at the U.S. GM plants.

Traverse sales were estimated to have surpassed 1,200 orders since preorders of the SUV began early September. The Colorado pickup also gained more than 1,000 orders after debuting in late August.

Initially, GM Korea expected that the monthly orders for the Traverse SUV would only be between 500 and 600 units. However, it received around 2,000 orders for the initial deliveries at the Pyeongtaek Port in Gyeonggi Province later this month. GM Korea refused to verify the numbers.

If the current pace of monthly orders persists, GM officials said that the number of Traverses for delivery might be deficient. The limit is because it takes about two months for an import to place an order with the head office and have new vehicles ready for delivery.

“Even if GM Korea place orders now, it will likely take at least two months to get the cars, given the time for manufacturing vehicles with Korea-specific options, shipping them to Korea and pre-delivery inspections,” officials said. “A delay in the delivery of Traverses seems to be inevitable, and the question is how the company can minimize the delay.”

The soaring number of orders led GM Korea to take up a cautious position in endorsing the swift sales increase, as it is wary of falling short in delivering units.

An automobile firm official said, “GM Korea is cautious in dealing with the popularity of the Traverse and the Colorado because there are limits to its speed and capacity in bringing in the imported vehicles.”

“In terms of luxury brands, consumers do not withdraw their orders even though they have to wait for months for delivery. However, it is uncertain whether it will be the case for volume models like Chevrolet vehicles.”

GM Korea is not new in experiencing a surge of orders before.

The Impala sedan, launched in 2015 as an import model, sold 6,913 units that year though it failed to deal with the soaring numbers and saw clients withdrawing from them.

Another cause for concern in securing the import quantity is the ongoing strike by the United Automobile Workers at General Motors in the U.S.

The company reportedly secured a considerable amount of vehicles. Still, there is growing fear that if the strike continues for a month, it may likely affect the volume going to Korea.

“Though we cannot reveal the number of orders for the Traverse or the Colorado, it is true that customers are showing a favorable response to the two vehicles and the number of orders is bigger than our expectations,” a GM Korea official said.

“We are talking with headquarters to prevent any setbacks in importing the vehicles, and don’t believe the strike in the U.S. will affect the volume heading to Korea.”

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