Hyundai Workers Call Strike To Protest Daewoo Sale To Foreigners

The union of South Korea's leading Hyundai Motor Co. announced a six-day strike Apr. 5 to protest the proposed sale of troubled Daewoo Motor Co. to a foreign buyer. Daewoo Motor workers have been on a strike since Mar. 31, demanding the company be nationalized. The Daewoo strike came after four foreign companies -- U.S. auto giants Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. (GM), Italy's Fiat, and Germany's DaimlerChrysler -- and Hyundai applied to take over Daewoo Motor. The sale of Daewoo Motor, once the nation's second-biggest automaker with an annual production capacity of about 2 million units, is part of South Korea's economic reform process of dismantling the debt-stricken Daewoo Group. Ford and GM are tipped as front-runners in the race to acquire Daewoo as they desperately seek a production base in the booming Asian market and access to South Korea's notoriously inaccessible auto market. South Korea views its auto industry as a symbol of national economic pride, and the first sale of a Korean car firm to a foreign company would mark a turning point in its industrial history.

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