GM Daewoo

GM Daewoo Motors logo

GM Daewoo Auto & Technology (GM Daewoo or GMDAT) was first established as National Motor in 1937 in Bupyeong-ku, Incheon, South Korea. After changing its name to Saenara Motor in 1962, Saenara Motor was bought by Shinjin Industrial in 1965, which changed its name to Shinjin Motor after establishing collaborations with Toyota.

After Toyota's withdrawal in 1972, Shinjin Motor started a joint venture with General Motors under the name General Motors Korea, but was renamed again in 1976 to Saehan Motor. After the Daewoo Group gained control in 1982 the name was changed to Daewoo Motors. In the early 1990s the company started to expand heavily throughout the world. Until 1996 all cars were based on models from General Motors. After the Asian financial crisis started in 1997, it took over the troubled Jeep specialist SsangYong in 1998, but ran into financial trouble in 1999.

In 2001 General Motors decided to buy most of Daewoo Motors to form GM Daewoo. The new company started operation on October 17, 2002, with GM holding a stake of 66.7% through its Holden branch, the rest belonging to Suzuki and SAIC. The deal did not include 15 plants, especially Daewoo's oldest plant in Bupyeong which now operates under the name Daewoo Incheon Motor Company as a supplier to GM Daewoo; General Motors plans to buy this plant by 2008.

GMDAT has design, engineering, research & development facilities that are involved in development for various GM products. On November 25, 2003, the design center was relocated to the new 2-story building at the Bupyeong headquarters and assigned the task to style a new SUV based on GM's Theta automobile platform to be released in 2006.

Missing image
1999 Daewoo Leganza

Overseas engagements

Daewoo owned a share of ZAZ, an automobile manufacturer based in Ukraine from 1998 to 2003. The CKD assembly of Daewoo Lanos (model T100) started 2002 and lately it was adopted for full-scale production as as ZAZ Lanos model T150. A version of Daewoo-developed Chevrolet Aveo is being assembled for local market at Iliychevsk subsidary.

In August 1992, Daewoo set up UzDaewooAuto, a joint venture and a factory in Asaka city, Andizhan province, Uzbekistan, leveraging the presence of a large local ethnic Korean minority. Currently, the plant assembles Daewoo Matiz and Daewoo Nexia for both local market and export, as well as Daewoo Lacetti hatchback and sedan for domestic market only.

Daewoo also invested into Poland's FSO car factory in 1995, forming a joint venture for assembly of Daewoo Matiz microcar, a successor to Daewoo Tico very popular in the Eastern European market.

Following the GM buyout in 2002, GM Daewoo lost interest in its overseas assets; the deals on supplies of pre-assembled CKD kits should end in 2005 and the facilities are likely to rely on its own production capabilites since that point.

Car models

Daewoos were first sold in the United States and around the world as the Pontiac LeMans, a model based on the Opel Kadett E. The Saehan Bird, based on the General Motors T-car platform, was exported to Malaysia as the Opel Gemini; this was also known in South Korea as the Daewoo Maepsy. A larger Opel Commodore-based model, called the Daewoo Royale was also available. The Prince, which had commonalities with the Australian Holden Commodore, was built until 1993.

In the 1990s, Daewoo expanded its presence under its own brand, notably in Europe, where it sold the Opel Ascona-based Espero and Kadett-based Nexia (also Racer and Cielo in the domestic market; the latter is often spelled as Ciero for the lack of 'L' sound in Korean).

Under the supervision of Dr. Ulrich Bez, Daewoo developed its own models not based on any GM platform. These were codenamed as the T100, J100 and V100, reflecting the code names used by General Motors, with Italdesign Giugiaro working on the T100 and V100. The J100 was designed by IDEA of Italy. These were exported from late 1998 to Daewoo Motor America as the sub-compact Lanos (meaning "pleasure" in Latin), compact Nubira ("to go everywhere/anywhere" in Korean), and the mid-size Leganza (combining the words elegante and forza, the latter meaning power in Italian). Other markets received these three cars, too. The Leganza's styling was reportedly based on a show car Italdesign presented on Jaguar XJ12 mechanicals; the real thing was more modest, with Holden-built 2.2 L engines shipped from Melbourne to Daewoo's Korean plant.

The Rezzo/Tacuma minivan and Matiz/Spark (M100) micro-car are other models sold by Daewoo in various markets. The Magnus/Evanda (V200) is a development of the Leganza. Kalos (T200) subcompact was released in late 2002. (J200), a new version of Nubira sedan, was released in 2003; Lacetti, a 5-door hatchback version followed in 2004. The Kalos and the Lacetti hatchbacks were again styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, and J200 sedan, later renamed Lacetti as well, was the responsibility of Pininfarina.

The last model year for Daewoo-badged vehicles in the US was 2002, following the bankruptcy of Daewoo Motor America and GM buyout of Daewoo Motor.

Recent developments

Badge engineering

No Daewoo-built vehicles were offered in the US for the 2003 model year. However, Daewoo exports found their way to countries such as Canada, India and the People's Republic of China. In Canada and India, the Daewoo Lacetti is sold as the Chevrolet Optra (hatchback being Optra5), and in China, it is the Buick Excelle (the hatchback being the Excelle HRV). In most European countries, they retained the Daewoo brand and original model names; Eastern Europe, Middle East and South Africa adopted Chevrolet brand.

The 2004 Chevrolet Aveo, Suzuki Verona, Suzuki Forenza, and 2005 Suzuki Reno, all offered in the US market, are "badge engineered" Daewoos (they are sold in South Korea as the Daewoo Kalos, Magnus, Lacetti sedan and Lacetti hatchback respectively).

Starting in 2005, GM will brand all Daewoos as Chevrolets, except for in China (where it will be Buick), South Korea and Thailand (where Daewoo is retained), in an effort to make Chevrolet its global brand. One casualty of this is that the "Nubira" name will disappear in favour of "Lacetti" in the UK, although "Nubira" sedan will remain in the rest of the Europe. Exports to Australia will also cease once 2005 commences. A final odd consequence in Europe for 2005 is that the Chevrolet Corvette, which continues to be imported, will drop the Chevrolet name, with Corvette becoming the marque.

Future plans

Following rapidly growing sales of GMDAT-engineered and produced cars in most parts of the world, the company plans to launch major product offensive in the next 2 years.

3-door hatchback version of now-Chevrolet Kalos (T200), already branded as Chevrolet Aveo in some regions, started selling on February 18, 2005, almost a year late than previously planned. A new version of Matiz (model M200), based on the Matiz M3X concept premiered at 2004 Paris Motor Show, has already entered production and will appear in dealerships by Spring, following its Geneva Motor Show 2005 premiere. Holden Statesman mid-size sedan is to be sold as Daewoo Statesman in Korea.

Somewhere later in 2005, updated versions of Magnus (model V250) and Kalos (model T250) are scheduled to appear, along with 3-door version of Lacetti hatchback.

Yet-unnamed SUV (model C100), based on the Chevrolet S3X concept developed using GM Theta platform, is scheduled for early 2006 release. It will feature a range of common rail diesel engines, first time in a Daewoo vehicle; the design is licensed from Italian engine maker VM Motori.

Another model based on Chevrolet T2X, a "sport coupe SUV" concept car, will join the line-up in 2006.

List of Daewoo cars

Concept cars

See also

External links



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