If you think the Korean car industry is going to go away, think again. GM Daewoo has just opened a $US100 million ($A108 million) proving ground in Korea.
Work on the 477,000sqm Cheong-Na Proving Ground began in October 2005 with the South Korean government giving GM Daewoo a 30-year rent-free lease of the land!
GM Daewoo’s business is dominated by exports. Last year the Korean arm of General Motors made 1.5 million cars of which only 8.5 per cent were sold locally. This year GM Daewoo expects to reach 1.8 million units.
Holden currently sources the Barina and Epica from GM Daewoo (Although Australia’s version of the GM Daewoo developed Captiva has been made in Thailand since September). GM Daewoo also supplies small cars and SUVs to the rest of the GM world under several badges.
The once-struggling manufacturer was acquired by GM in late 2002 and has since seen over $4 billion of investment poured in, with more still to come. However unlike many things GM has touched in the last decade, Daewoo has been a success story.
With more and more top notch quality coming out of Korea from the likes Hyundai and Kia, there is no reason to expect anything less from GM Daewoo in the next few years.
And we’ll lay odds there will be plenty of Australian accents at the proving ground – Holden is GM’s nominated shareholder in GM Daewoo. Now they’ll be able to dial in Australian-style ride and handling into the next generation of Barinas and Epicas from the start.