Daewoo has Been around a While
March 13, 2009
Daewoo has been in existence much, much longer than most people realize as it turns out. For those of us in the United States, Daewoo is a newcomer to the automobile playing field but it has actually been in existence since the early 20th century.
Established in 1937, Daewoo started out as National Motor Company in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon, South Korea. The next stop along the way was its next name change to Saenara Motors. 1962 saw the company enter into collaborations with Toyota. This proved to be an unfruitful venture for Toyota who then pulled out of the company just 10 years later.
Once Toyota left, the name was changed again,this time to Shinjin Motor. About this time, General Motors expressed interest in the company. General Motors proposed a joint venture with the Korean company and it officially became General Motors Korea but the name was changed again in 1976 to Saehan Motor. It was not until Daewoo Group took over in 1982 that the company was actually known as Daewoo Motor.
Through out the 1990’s the company expanded its markets and all its vehicles used basic General Motors models. The company continually suffered from financial difficulties and the Asian financial crisis only served to exacerbate the monetary problems the company faced.
General Motors finally made the move to acquire most of the company’s assets. Shares were spread over a number of companies including Suzuki and SAIC . By 2004, General Motors would move to acquire shares equaling 50.9% making GM the major stockholder in the company.
The company has various plants scattered around the planet and the cars are assembled in several different countries including mainland China, Thailand, India and Colombia.
Daewoo’s were originally marketed as the Daewoo Le Mans and Daewoo Racer. In 1998, three models were made and marketed for sale in the United States. The first to be introduced here was a sub compact known as the Daewoo Lanos (Lanos means pleasure in Latin), next came the compact car Nubira (Korean for “to go everywhere”). The next Daewoo released in the United States would be a mid size car named the Daewoo Leganza. Although the vehicles have proven somewhat popular overseas, sales in the United States have been sluggish from the outset.
General Motors finally pulled Daewoo from American markets and by 2003, no Daewoo built vehicles were offered in the United States. Daewoo has proven quite successful in other countries however and the decision was made to put more focus on those markets. Later that year, General Motors made the decision to drop the Daewoo name and rebrand the Daewoo with the Chevrolet marque.
Rebadged Daewoo’s did so well in Israel that General Motors adopted this strategy for other countries. In most European markets, however, the original Daewoo brand name remained until late in 2004.
A diesel engine was added to the Daewoo line up for the first time in 2006 and was offered overseas in the Holden Captiva and the Daewoo Windstorm.
The future of the Daewoo line up remains up in the air as General Motors struggles to regain its footing amid swirling financial storms. At the moment, the fate of General Motors itself is undecided and 2009 will be a telling year for the auto-manufacturing giant.
Ronnie Tanner is a contributing writer at SWEngines. He writes about used Daewoo engines and choosing this as an alternative to costly car purchases.
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