Daewoo

Daewoo Logo

Daewoo Automotive Ltd. was founded in the late 1970s when Korea was
attempting to enter the car market. Competing mostly with Hyundai and
Japanese imports, Daewoo cars tended towards the very bottom of the market,
emphasizing low cost and seeking to find a market in southeast Asia.

Daewoo was successful in the 1980s and 90s, and was ultimately bought by GM to
become GM-Daewoo and then GM Korea. Most of GM’s European and Southeast
Asian exports in the early 21st century were in fact “badge engineered”
Daewoo cars. GM Korea continues to produce “Daewoo cars” that have
Chevrolet badges on them.

Daewoo car design was always very simple: make a car that works, reliably,
that people can afford. The average Daewoo car would seem very spartan to
American buyers, as things like power windows, air conditioning and even
the radio were considered “optional extras.” Mostly, Daewoo would purchase
old plates, presses and equipment from Japanese manufacturers and produce
new copies of older model cars, thus ensuring that every Daewoo car was
very inexpensive since there was no research and development process.
However, this became untenable in the late 1990s, leading to the
development of the Daewoo Lanos.


Five Remarkable Things about Daewoo:

  • At its peak, Daewoo was the 2nd largest company in Korea, second only to
    Hyundai.
  • Re-Badged Daewoo cars are very popular in eastern Europe, because they
    are inexpensive and easy to repair.
  • Daewoo is one of the few major motor companies to have never sponsored a
    racing team.
  • Until the Daewoo Lanos, all Daewoo models were in fact badge-engineered
    Toyotas and Hondas.
  • Daewoo was famous for doing extreme tests to their vehicles, such as
    abandoning them in the desert or alps to test their ability to endure
    extreme temperatures and neglect.
  • Famous Daewoo Car Models

    The Daewoo Lanos was the first “All Daewoo” car to be produced. Small and
    inexpensive, it found its biggest market in Australia, where it was the
    least expensive subcompact on the market after the discontinuation of the
    Mini Cooper. Intended to compete with German and Japanese subcompacts, its
    low price point necessitated a very small engine and less than optimal
    safety. However, it was a good seller and was even imported to the United
    States for a short time. The Daewoo Lanos continues to be sold as the
    Chevrolet Lanos in Poland and Ukraine.

    Daewoo’s only real luxury car was the 2000 Daewoo Leganza. Intended
    primarily for developing markets (most notably Arabian nations) it was a
    mid-sized, spartan car with an emphasis on reliability. Knowing that
    repairs would be impractical or impossible in most of the third world, the
    2000 Daewoo Leganza was engineered to operate in dirty, muddy, cold or hot
    conditions even when neglected. It sold moderately well in the United
    States, but the 2000 Daewoo Leganza sold best in Eastern Europe.

    GM discontinued the Saturn and Pontiac brands October of 2010 and Daewoo in 2011.

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