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GM Korea Company (formerly GM Daewoo Auto & Technology or GMDAT) was first established as National Motor in 1937 in Bupyeong-gu, 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 Motor. 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 Motor's assets to form GM Daewoo. The new company started operations on October 17, 2002, with GM and its partners Suzuki and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation holding a stake of 66.7% with investments of US$400 million. The remaining equity stake of 33.3% was held by Korea Development Bank and several other Korean creditors with investments of US$197 million. 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. In February 2005, GM invested US$49 million to raise its share in the company to 48.2%. Furthermore, GM acquired 6.9 million shares in GM Daewoo for US$21 million from Suzuki Motors in August of the same year. General Motors' share in GM Daewoo then increased to 50.9%. Suzuki still holds 11% of GMDAT but is reported to be considering selling this to GM.

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.

GMDAT has manufacturing plants in Korea and an assembly plant in Vietnam. GMDAT-designed cars are also assembled in China, Thailand, India, and Colombia [as of February 2005]. Its cars are marketed in over 140 countries [as of February 2005]. In 2004, GMDAT sold more than 900,000 vehicles worldwide.

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 more Korean-like sound, NOT for the lack of an 'L' sound in Korean(which is NOT even true). The Cielo was named Heaven (Cielo means Heaven in spanish) in the Chilean market.).

The Daewoo Korando, a badge engineered version of the SsangYong Korando, was sold briefly from 1999 to 2001.

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 an Italdesign show car based on Jaguar XJ-12 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 the Matiz/Spark micro-car are other models sold by Daewoo in various markets. The Magnus/Evanda is a development of the Leganza. The Kalos subcompact was released in late 2002. A new version of the Nubira sedan was released in 2003 while the Lacetti, a 5-door hatchback version of the Nubria, followed in 2004. The Kalos and the Lacetti were styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, and styling of the Nubria sedan was the responsibility of Pininfarina.

Overseas engagements

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

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 the Matiz and the Nexia for both the local market and export, as well as the Lacetti hatchback and sedan for the domestic market only.

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

Since 1995, Daewoo has acquired a factory in Craiova, Romania which was producing a derivate of a Citroën model, the Oltcit. The entire production facility was refurbished to mainly produce the Cielo model and later, other models. Currently it is producing the Daewoo Cielo, Daewoo Matiz and Daewoo Nubira models for the Romanian market, but also exports car parts, such as engines and gearboxes to GM Daewoo and to other companies. The factory was not acquired by GM and is currently 51% owned by Korean banks and 49% by the Romanian government. Its license will expire at the end of 2005 and Renault, which already owns the Dacia plant in Piteşti, where it is currently producing the Dacia Logan model, is one of the potential buyers.

In 1998, the low-volume assemly of the Lanos, Nubira and the Leganza started in Taganrog, Russia, at the TagAZ factory. The cars were sold on the local market under the Doninvest brand, as the Assol, the Orion and the Kondor, respectively. The project didn't have much success, so TagAZ recently turned to Hyundai and started producing the Hyundai Accent and the Kia Rio.

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

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 some places of the world (notably Canada, India and Israel) the Daewoo brand doesn't exist anymore and Daewoo cars are sold as "Chevrolet".

It was Israel that initially requested GM to change the Daewoo name to something with more prestige in order to increase sales in the local market. GM decided to comply and started selling the Daewoo Lacetti as Chevrolet Optra in Israel (with the hatchback known as Optra5). This was the first time GM sold re-badged Daewoo cars.

The re-branded Daewoo models sold in Israel succeeded far beyond GM's expectations so the Daewoo re-branding strategy was adopted to other countries as well. In most European countries however, GM retained the Daewoo brand and original model names until December 31, 2004.

GM Daewoo-built vehicles returned to the US market in 2004 and continue to be marketed to this day. The 2004-current Chevrolet Aveo, Suzuki Verona, Suzuki Forenza, and 2005-current Suzuki Reno, all offered in the US market, are "rebadged" Daewoos (they are sold in South Korea as the Daewoo Kalos, Magnus, Lacetti sedan, and Lacetti hatchback, respectively).

In 2005, GM branded most Daewoos as Chevrolets. Exceptions are China (where the cars are rebadged as Buick and Chevrolet), South Korea (GM Daewoo), Vietnam (where Daewoo is retained), Australia and New Zealand (Holden), the United States (Chevrolet, Suzuki), and Canada (Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Suzuki). The intent of utilizing the Chevrolet brand worldwide is to make Chevrolet a global brand of GM. One casualty of this is that the "Nubira" name disappeared in favor of "Lacetti" in the UK, although the "Nubira" sedan remains in the rest of the Europe. A final odd consequence in Europe for 2005 is that the Corvette, which continues to be imported, dropped the Chevrolet name, with Corvette becoming the marque.

In areas where GM Daewoo has no official distributors, it is possible to buy the same car under several brand names.

Recent developments

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

The three-door hatchback version of now-Chevrolet Kalos (designated T200), already branded as Chevrolet Aveo in some regions, started selling on February 18, 2005, almost a year later than previously planned.

A new version of the Daewoo Matiz, based on the Matiz M3X concept at 2004 Paris Motor Show, entered production and appeared in dealerships in the summer of 2005, following its Geneva Motor Show première that same year.

The Holden Statesman full-size luxury sedan is presently sold as the Daewoo Statesman in Korea.

Future plans

Updated versions of the Magnus and the Aveo are scheduled for worldwide premières before the end of 2005, along with a three-door version of the Lacetti. The Daewoo Gentra, a four-door Korean version of the Aveo sedan was released in September 2005. The Daewoo Tosca, the Magnus replacement, has recently been announced.

The Chevrolet Captiva SUV, based on the Chevrolet S3X concept developed using the GM Theta platform, is scheduled for a summer 2006 release. While it will also sell in South Korea as Winstorm. It will feature a common rail diesel engine for the first time in a Daewoo vehicle in addition to regular gasoline engines. The engine design is licensed from the Italian engine maker VM Motori.

A model based on the Chevrolet T2X, a "sport coupé–SUV" concept car, will join the lineup in 2006.

GMDAT will also take responsibility for developing the future version of the GM Gamma platform, currently used by the Opel Corsa and the Fiat Grande Punto.

List of Daewoo models

Passenger cars

Commercial vehicles

Daewoo's commercial vehicle business was acquired by Tata Motors in 2004. The business is now known as Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle and Daewoo Bus.

Concept cars

  • Daewoo No.1 (1995)
  • Daewoo No.2 (1995)
  • Daewoo Mya (1996)
  • Daewoo Tacuma (1997)
  • Daewoo Joyster (1997)
  • Daewoo Shiraz (1998)
  • Daewoo Mirae (1999)
  • Daewoo DMS-1 (1999)
  • Daewoo Musiro (2000)
  • Daewoo Vada (2001)
  • Daewoo Flex (2001)
  • Daewoo Scope (2003)
  • Chevrolet S3X (2004)
  • Chevrolet M3X (2004)
  • Chevrolet T2X (2005)
  • Daewoo G2X (2006)

See Also

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General Motors Company

Buick | Cadillac | Chevrolet | GMC | Holden | Hummer | Opel | Vauxhall | Daewoo

Current: Veritas · Kalos · Lacetti · Matiz · Tosca · Alpheon

Historic: Brougham · Chairman · Damas/Labo · Espero · Gentra · Maepsy · Istana · Korando · Lanos · Leganza · LeMans · Magnus · Musso · Nexia · Nubira · Prince · Racer · Rezzo · Tacuma · Royale Prince · Royale Salon · Statesman · Super Salon · Tico · Win-Storm

Concept: No.1 · No.2 · Mya · Tacuma · Joyster · Shiraz · Mirae · DMS-1 · Musiro · Vada · Flex · Scope · G2X · L4X

Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle · Daewoo Bus

Kim Woo-choong Corporate website A brand of the General Motors Corporation

image (between 170-190 pixels)

Tata Group

Tata Motors | Jaguar | Land Rover | Hispano Carrocera SA | Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle | Daewoo Bus

Elf · 8 to 18-ton truck · Chasedae Truck · BM090 · BS090 · BF101/105 · BS105/106 · BV101 · BV113 · BH113 · BH115 · BH115E · BH116 · BH117 · BH120(H)

Include notable internal links here

Kim Woo-jung Include the marque's Corporate website here and indicate as such. A brand of the Tata Group

External links