GM Daewoo: Wikis


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GM Daewoo
Type Subsidiary of GM
Founded 1937
Founder(s) Kim Woo-jung
Headquarters Bupyeong-gu, Incheon, South Korea
Key people President and CEO: Michael A. Grimaldi
Industry Automotive
Products Automobiles
Consumer goods
Parent GM Holden Ltd (70.1%)
GM Daewoo
Hangul 지엠대우

GM Daewoo[1] (GM Daewoo Auto and Technology Company or GM DAT) is the fourth South-Korean automobile manufacturer, member and part of the General Motors Company.

GM Daewoo roots go back to the former Daewoo Group which went bankrupt in 1999. It has five manufacturing facilities in Korea as well as an assembly facility in Vietnam. In addition, GM Daewoo provides market and brand-specific vehicle kits for assembly at GM facilities in China, Thailand, India, Colombia and Venezuela. In 2008, GM Daewoo sold in Korea and exported more than 1.9 million units, including CKD products. GM Daewoo now produces vehicles and kits for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Opel, Vauxhall, Pontiac, Holden and Suzuki that are offered in more than 150 markets on six continents.


Company history

Early history

See also Saehan Motors

The company was first established as National Motor in 1937 in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon, South Korea. The name was changed to Saenara Motor in November 1962.Saenara was assembling and selling Datsun's Bluebird P310.[2] Very first automobile company in Korea, Saenara was equipped with modern assembly facilities, and was established after the Automobile Industry Promotion Policy was announced by the South Korean government in 1962.[3] Saenara Motor was then bought by Shinjin Industrial in 1965, which changed its name to Shinjin Motor after establishing collaborations with Toyota. Shinjin range included various Toyota models, such as the Publica, T40 Corona and Crown.

After Toyota's withdrawal in 1972, Shinjin Motor started a joint venture with General Motors under the name General Motors Korea (GMK), but was renamed again in 1976 to Saehan Motor. GMK shortly sold their Rekord under the GMK marque, together with the Holden Torana based Chevrolet 1700. When GMK was renamed to Saehan, the 1700 became Saehan Camina.[4]

Saehan's range was composed of diverse GM models : the Saehan Gemini was based on 1974 Isuzu's Belett Gemini, then replaced by the Maepsy (known under the Saehan Bird name in export versions), which was a development of the Gemini.[5]Its pickup derivate, the Saehan Max is now a part of Korean automobile history. Saehan also marketed the Opel Rekord E and created later on, on this basis, their Royale Series, composed of the Royale Diesel, Royale Automatic and Royale Salon models.

Daewoo Motor

After the Daewoo Group gained control in 1982 the name was changed to Daewoo Motor Co.. Until 1996 all cars were based on models from General Motors. All Saehan models were named Daewoos, the Maepsy being refreshed became Maepsy-Na. The Royale Series models were kept, Daewoo adding the Royale XQ and Royale Duke (March 1982), Royale Prince (July 1983) and Royale Salon Super (March 1986). Above the Royale range was added in 1989 the Daewoo Imperial flagship luxury car, which styling was reminiscent of the contemporary Chrysler Imperial and New Yorker, but also luxury Japanese sedans. It was produced until 1993.

The first Daewoo addition was the 1986 Daewoo LeMans, based on the Opel Kadett E ; 3-door versions were called Racer, and 5-door Penta-5. This car had an internation ambition for GM, as it was sold almost worldwide, as the Pontiac LeMans, Asüna GT and SE, or Passport Optima. This car was produced until February 1997, being one of Daewoo Motor's greatest successes. 1986 was also the year Daewoo offered a badge-engineered version of Nissan's Vanette.

In 1990 was created the Espero, designed by Bertone of Italy, initiating a tradition at Daewoo Motor of models created by Italian designers.

Daewoo Heavy Industries (DHI) introduced in 1991 the Tico mini car, which was sold at Daewoo Motor's dealers. DHI was also selling since 1981 the Damas minivan and Labo mini pickup - Tico, Damas and Labo being based on Suzuki models. When the Royale Series range was discontinued, its models were slightly refreshed and offered under the Prince and Super Salon/Brougham names until respectively 1997 and 1999.

In 1992, the joint-venture with GM ended, leaving Daewoo Motor as an independent company.

In 1994, Daewoo started importing the second generation Honda Legend to replace the discontinued flagship Imperial, under the name of Arcadia. This year, the LeMans got a slight refresh, and all variants (3,4 and 5-door) were then sold under the Cielo name.

The first "real" Daewoo Motor product, the Lanos, was introduced in late 1996. it spawned 3 variants : 4-door, 3-door called Romeo and 5-door Juliet - being the first model of a whole new family of cars to be created. Styling was a cooperation of Giorgetto Giugiaro and Italdesign. One of its main features was the all-new 3-parts corporate grill, reminding of the Daewoo Motor emblem, and which was going to be used on many Daewoo cars to come. February 1997 saw the birth of the Nubira, first Daewoo model to be produced in their then new Kunsan motor plant and designed by Italian I.DE.A Institute. In March 1997, the mid-size Leganza followed, also designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, borrowing some styling cues of the existing 1990 Jaguar Kensington concept-car.[6]

In 1998, after the Asian financial crisis, Daewoo Motor took over the troubled 4WD specialist SsangYong Motor. Its SUVs models, such as Korando, Musso and Rexton were sold under the Daewoo-SsangYong badge in South-Korea (contrary to other areas such as Europe where the Daewoo Korando existed, as an example). SsangYong's flagship limousine, the Chairman was on its part integrated to the Daewoo range, becoming the Daewoo Chairman with a new 3-parts Daewoo corporate grill. The Istana van was also renamed Daewoo.

2004 M150 Daewoo Matiz II

1998 was also the introduction of one of Daewoo Motor's best known car : the Matiz, whose design signed by Giorgetto Giugiaro was based on the 1992 concept car Lucciola which was initially imagined as a replacement for the Fiat Cinquecento. This car has been Daewoo Motor's best-seller for the next four years. In 1999, Daewoo presented the Magnus, which was a development of the existing Leganza. Sold alongside the Leganza in Korea until the end of the latter's production in 2002, it existed in 2 variants : Classic and Eagle (sportier). The Rezzo mini MPV was introduced in early 2000. Matiz, Lanos and Nubira got a mid-life facelift in 2001, becoming Matiz II, Lanos II and Nubira II. In 2002, the L6 Magnus was introduced, equipped with Daewoo's first straight-six engine, with new front grill and lamps - and Daewoo also presented the Kalos subcompact to replace the Lanos.

By 1999, the whole Daewoo Group ran into financial trouble, and was forced to sell its automotive division. Candidates for the operation included Hyundai associated with DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company and the GM-Fiat alliance. Finally, General Motors was the one who bought Daewoo Motor's assets.

Daewoo Group's bankruptcy and the beginnings of GM Daewoo in South Korea

See also Daewoo Group for the complete history of Daewoo's bankruptcy.

In 2001 General Motors bought 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 SAIC holding a stake of 66.7% with investments of US$400 million. The GM holding was formally purchased by GM Holden Ltd which holds a seat on the board.[7] 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-gu which now operates under the name Daewoo Incheon Motor Company as a supplier to GM Daewoo. In 2004, Tata Motors purchased Daewoo's Truck manufacturing unit. In February 2005, GM invested US$49 million to raise its share in the company to 48.2%. In 2008, General Motors owned 50.9%, Suzuki 11.2 %, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation 9.9 % and the Daewoo Motor Creditors Committee the remaining 28%.[8] In October 2009, GM increased its GMDAT holding; as of this date, GM is 70.1 percent owner, the Korean Development Bank holds 17 percent, Suzuki 6.8 percent and SAIC 6 percent.[9]

GM DAT has design, engineering, research & development facilities that are involved in development for various GM products, above all small-size cars. On November 25, 2003, the design center was relocated to the new 2-story building at the Bupyeong-gu headquarters.

The first car to be produced under the GM Daewoo nameplate was the 2002 Lacetti, replacing the Nubira. This car was developed under the Daewoo Motor era, but its fate became incredible, becoming GM's world car, sold under many different marques all around the globe. After a few years without real new car to present, GM Daewoo introduced in 2005 the Holden based Statesman luxury car replacing the discontinued Daewoo Chairman. The third generation of Matiz was introduced, refreshed by the GM Daewoo design team, and an evolution of the 4-door Kalos appeared : the Gentra. In early 2006, GM Daewoo presented the L6 Magnus replacement, the Tosca. GM Daewoo's official press releases says that Tosca is an acronym for "Tomorrow Standard Car".

The end of the same year, GM Daewoo introduced the Winstorm - its first proper SUV, which is, as the Lacetti, sold worldwide under different marques and names including Opel, Chevrolet, GMC, Holden or Saturn. It featured a common rail Diesel engine for the first time in a Daewoo vehicle, in addition to regular four and six cylinder gasoline engines. The diesel engine design is licensed from the Italian engine maker VM Motori.

2007 has seen the introduction of the wagon version of the Lacetti and Kalos hatchback's facelift, becoming Gentra X. For 2008, GM Daewoo introduced the first korean roadster : the G2X sports car, a badge-engineered Saturn Sky, and started to sell the Opel Antara under the name of Winstorm MaXX. The Statesman flagship was also replaced by the new Veritas still on a Holden basis.

Late 2008 and early 2009 were a major period for GM Daewoo with the introduction of the all-new Lacetti Premiere, which based the Chevrolet Cruze, a very important car for GM worldwide. The latest GM Daewoo product today is the all-new Matiz Creative, third generation of Matiz mini car.

Daewoo cars outside South Korea

Before GM’s buyout, Daewoo cars were available in different countries.

1997 J100 Daewoo Nubira

In Europe, Daewoo Motor started selling the Espero and Cielo-based Nexia early 1995. The range was then completed by the Lanos, Nubira and Leganza. The Matiz mini car was released in 1998, and was a great success for Daewoo, most notably in Italy where it won many awards such as the “Car of the Year” award three times in a row, in 1998, 1999 and 2000[10].

The Rezzo (Tacuma), Evanda (Magnus) and Kalos models were then released, before the SsangYong-based SUVs : Korando, Musso and Rexton. After GM’s buyout, the Daewoo models got a new badge, and were sold under the Daewoo name till 2004 : the Nubira III (Lacetti) was the last car to wear a Daewoo badge in Europe.

Daewoo cars were also available in the US (1998–2003), Canada, Australia and many other countries, until Daewoo’s bankruptcy and GM’s buyout.

January 1st, 2005 saw the introduction of the Chevrolet brand in Europe, the whole Daewoo range being simply badge-engineered as Chevrolets. GM’s official tagline was that

“Daewoo has grown up enough to become Chevrolet.” [11]

and that this new name was an opportunity for Daewoo to become stronger. Unofficially, after Daewoo’s bankruptcy, former chairman Kim Woo-Choong’s escape and most notably the “Affaire Daewoo” in France (closure and conflagration of the Daewoo-Orion Electronics plant in Longwy, France[12]), the “Daewoo” brand name had a very bad image – so GM simply decided to extend the Chevrolet strategy that was already used in most other markets (Canada, India, Israel, Russia…) since 2003 in order to create a real global brand, replacing the Daewoo brand by the Chevy bowtie.

The Winstorm and Tosca were presented as Chevy Captiva and Epica. Some GM Daewoo cars changed names when rebadged, examples are the Matiz which became Chevrolet Spark in some markets (although Chevrolet Matiz was available too), or the Kalos which became Aveo (alongside Chevrolet Kalos in other countries). Today, the tendency goes towards a uniformisation in the Chevrolet Europe range : the Matiz Creative-based Spark and Lacetti Premiere-based Cruze will bear these names throughout the whole Europe.

Elsewhere, Daewoo cars are available under several different brands, depending on the country :

2008 J200 Buick Excelle (Daewoo Lacetti) in China

In Canada, the Kalos was available as Pontiac Wave but also Chevy Aveo, Lacetti and Magnus being known as Optra and Epica.

In the USA, the Kalos was either a Chevy Aveo, either a Suzuki Swift+, and the Lacetti and Magnus were sold under the Suzuki Forenza and Verona names.

In China, the Lacetti was sold under the Buick Excelle name, and other cars wore the Chevy badge (4-door Kalos/Aveo being called Lova).

In Australia, various GM Daewoo models are offered : Kalos/Gentra as Holden Barina, Lacetti as Holden Viva, Epica as Holden Epica, Winstorm as Holden Captiva, etc…

Daewoo Motor's previous overseas engagements today

Daewoo owned a share of AvtoZAZ, an automobile manufacturer based in Ukraine, from 1998 to 2003 - establishing AvtoZAZ-Daewoo. 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 Illichivsk subsidiary. Following bankruptcy of Daewoo Motor in 2001, UkrAVTO corporation bought out AvtoZAZ holding in 2002. All of the AvtoZAZ manufacturing facilities (most notably, MeMZ and Illichivsk assembling plant) were reincorporated into ZAZ. The company even adopted a new logo. The Daewoo part in the joint venture was bought out by Swiss venture Hirsch & CIE in 2003.

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.

In 1994, Daewoo acquired the Automobile Craiova manufacture in Craiova, Romania which was producing a derivate of the Citroën Axel model, the Oltcit. The society name was changed to Romanian Daewoo Motor, abr. Rodae.[13] The entire production facility was refurbished to mainly produce the Cielo model and later, other models. Until 2008 it was producing the Daewoo Cielo, Matiz and Nubira models for the Romanian market, but also car parts for export, such as engines and gearboxes to GM Daewoo and to other companies. The factory was acquired by the Romanian Government and sold to Ford in 2007 (the official agreement was signed on 21 March 2008). The production of Daewoo models was stopped in May, 2008, and Rodae became "Ford Romania".

Daewoo Lublin II and a Daewoo-FSO Polonez Truck Plus in Poland
A Daewoo-Avia D90 truck in Czech Republic

Daewoo also invested into Poland's Fabryka Samochodów Osobowych (FSO) in 1995, forming a joint venture (Daewoo-FSO) for assembly of the Matiz microcar, a successor to the Tico that was very popular in the Eastern European market. Since January 2005 FSO began to produce Matiz and Lanos under their own trademark.

When making a joint venture with the Polish company Fabryka Samochodów Ciężarowych (FSC) in 1995, Daewoo also created Daewoo Motor Polska which produced the Daewoo Lublin van and Daewoo Honker multi-purpose all-terrain pick-up truck by 1996, design based on the former Tarpan Honker. Daewoo Motor Polska and the British van manufacturer LDV developed together at this time the Maxus van. But after the Daewoo Group's bankruptcy, LDV secured the exclusive rights to the vehicle, purchased the tooling and moved it from Daewoo's plant in Poland to the LDV site in Birmingham. FSC was then sold by GM to the British investment group Intrall and the Honker's design to the Polish company Andoria-Mot.

In 1998, Daewoo Motor bought 50.2% of Avia, a Czech automotive company. The year after, the trade name of the Company was changed to Daewoo-Avia. In the same year, the Company became the exclusive importer and distributor of Daewoo vehicles for the Czech Republic, and started manufacturing the Polish Lublin van and the new Daewoo-Avia D60/90 series truck range. GM's buyout plan did not include Daewoo-Avia in 2001. In the year 2005, the company was overtaken by the investment group Odien Capital Partners and in October 2006 the division of light trucks moved under the concern of Ashok Leyland of India, becoming Avia Ashok Leyland Motors Company (AALM).

In 1998, the low-volume assembly of the Lanos, Nubira and the Leganza started in Taganrog, Russia, at the TagAZ-Doninvest factory.[14] The cars were sold on the local market under the Doninvest brand, as the Assol, Orion and Kondor, respectively. The project did not have much success, so TagAZ turned to Citroën to produce their Berlingo under the Orion-M name[15] and Hyundai to produce the Accent, and more recently, the chinese Chery A5 under their new TagAZ Vortex brand.

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

Latest news and future products

GM Daewoo is supposed to take responsibility for developing the future version of the GM Gamma platform, currently used by the Opel Corsa D and the Fiat Grande Punto. Therefore, it has been speculated that the Chevrolet Corsa C, sold in Latin America since 2002, may be replaced or joined by a slightly modified version of the Corsa D - in the latter case, it might be named Astra (like the Chevrolet Vectra, which is a Opel Astra C with a different front end), and the Corsa may be followed by a Kalos/Aveo built on the Corsa B's platform with many shared pieces with the Chevrolet Celta.

Developed by a global design and engineering team, the GM Daewoo Lacetti Premiere was introduced in October, 2008.

In August 2009, GM Daewoo released the Matiz Creative, design being based on the '07 Chevrolet Beat concept.

The Chevrolet Orlando concept production version is going to be manufactured by GM Daewoo, and has alredy been spotted on the Chinese roads.[16]

Images recently leaked of a new 2011 model, known under the VS300 project, being a rebadged 2010 Buick LaCrosse. It is supposed to be named GM Daewoo Alpheon.[17][18][19]

On Monday, 11 January '10, Chevrolet will present at the 2010 Detroit Motor Show the GM DAT designed Aveo RS Concept, which introduces the forthcoming Kalos/Gentra.[20]

The next model changed for 2011 will be the Winstorm SUV, judging by the spy shots, it will feature an all-new front end.[21]

Manufacturing facilities

South Korea

  • Bupyeong-gu : vehicle assembly and gasoline/LPG engine manufacturing (production capacity: est. 440,000/year)
  • Gunsan : vehicle assembly and diesel engine manufacturing (production capacity: est. 260,000/year)
  • Changwon : vehicle assembly and gasoline/LPG engine manufacturing (production capacity: est. 210,000/year)
  • Boryeong : transmission and engine components manufacturing


  • Hanoi : VIDAMCO (Vietnam Daewoo Motor Co.) vehicle assembly (production capacity: est. 11,000/year)

List of Daewoo models

See the article List of Daewoo models which includes a full list of Daewoo passenger cars, concept cars, bus and trucks.

Daewoo Motor emblems, slogans and logos

The Daewoo Royals emblem, on which was based the Royale Series logo.

Daewoo Motor emblems to be detailed here

  • As a first logo, the cars had the "DAEWOO" Daewoo Group logo lettering.
  • The Royale Series featured a crown-like logo, very similar to the Daewoo Royals football team logo.
  • A "double D" logo was then used on the cars (as seen on Cielo, Espero, Brougham, Imperial...)
  • Giugiaro redesigned this logo in 1994 (first seen on the Bucrane concept)
  • On the European SUV line (Korando, Musso, Rexton), Daewoo Motor used a new version of this emblem, more squared. Later on, this logo was used by Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Co. Ltd (trucks), and Tata Daewoo.
  • GM Daewoo emblem in 2002 : a modernized evolution of the Daewoo Motor logo.
  • To be detailed : SsangYong-Daewoo logo, Statesman & Veritas hood ornament
  • Slogans : UK 1995 "A different kind of car company? That'll be the Daewoo"
  • "Daewoo, that's who"
  • 2000 "Miraenun pakkemnida" : "Better future"
  • 2002 "Driving innovation"
  • 2008 "New ways, Always" etc...

See also


  1. ^ Daewoo is pronounced [tɛ.u] in Korean; The English pronunciation varies, but /ˈdaɪwuː/ is common.
  2. ^ Short-lived Saenara sedan earned a place in history books
  3. ^ "BESTA COACH 9". Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  4. ^ "Camina (1976–8)". Autocade. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  5. ^ "Saehan Maepsy". Autocade. 2009-07-24. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  6. ^ 1990 Jaguar Kensington concept on Giugiaro's official site :
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Tierney, Christine (2009-10-23). "GM takes larger stake in GM Daewoo". The Detroit News. Jonathan Wolman. Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  10. ^ "Matiz takes third Car of Year title in Europe "
  11. ^ FRENCH Official GM Daewoo/Chevrolet Magazine "Daewoo a pour ainsi dire, grandi pour devenir Chevrolet..."
  12. ^ FRENCH
  13. ^ Article on Rodae history
  14. ^ FRENCH "Entre septembre 1998 et fin 1999 l’usine TagAZ a assemblé près de 10 000 voitures Daewoo Lanos, Nubira et Leganza, sous sa marque Doninvest et avec des appellations locales."
  15. ^ "The company started production of minibus “Doninvest Orion M” with component parts of the French manufacturer on the basis of “Citroen Berlingo”..."
  16. ^ Chevrolet Orlando prototype spotted outside of Shanghai
  17. ^ "네이버 블로그 :: 포스트 내용보기". 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  18. ^ "2011 Daewoo LaCrosse [Spied]". Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  19. ^ "2011 Daewoo Alpheon - - Electronic Service Information for GM Vehicles". Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  20. ^ FRENCH "Le concept se nomme finalement Aveo RS ..."
  21. ^ GM INSIDE NEWS 2011 Daewoo Winstorm Spy Shots!

External links


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