General Motors will axe thousands of workers in South Korea from next year ahead of Chevrolet's exit from the European market in 2015.

US media reports GM Korea CEO Sergio Rocha has said the manufacturer plans to open up a "voluntary retirement" scheme to 6000 salaried office workers by March, however, it does not plan to cut any of its 10,000 factory jobs.

According to reports, of the 6000 workers eligible for the scheme, 2200 are research and design staff.

In what would be the South Korean division’s fourth round of job cuts since 2009, a spokesperson for the brand told Reuters, "This is part of our ongoing efforts to enhance operating efficiency". Specific job reduction targets are yet to be disclosed.

A major export market for South Korean-made cars, GM’s decision to axe Chevrolet in Western and Eastern Europe is a move aimed at turning around its embattled European operations, which from 2016 will focus on the Opel, Vauxhall and Cadillac brands.

GM Korea was formed in 2011 following the renaming of GM Daewoo – itself started as a new company by GM in 2002 after the American automotive giant acquired most of Daewoo Motors’ assets in 2001.

General Motors chairman and managing director Dan Akerson said the recently announced decision to cease Holden’s local vehicle and engine production by the end of 2017 was likewise motivated by the determination to strengthen its global operations through improved efficiency.