GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. (GM DAT) will be known as GM Korea Co. as of April 1, and all new product introductions and refreshes in the local market will be launched with the Chevrolet bowtie badge.
President and CEO of GM Daewoo, Mike Arcamone, said the restructuring decision was designed to strengthen the GM brand in the Korean market.
“We cannot afford to sit still, and instead, choose to make a bold move with the launch of Chevrolet in Korea,” Mr Arcamone said.“This new growth opportunity will allow us to compete in brand new segments and offer our customers more choices than ever before, resulting in a strong future for our company, our employees and our sales agents.”
Chevrolet’s launch in Korea will be spearheaded by eight new models, beginning this year. Among those will be the Camaro and Aveo (new Barina), as well as a new SUV and a new premium midsize sedan.
More than 4.25 million Chevrolet vehicles were sold around the world in 2010 – which GM says equates to about one every 7.4 seconds. One in every four Chevys currently produced is made in Korea.
GM Daewoo played a significant role in the design, engineering and manufacturing of the Cruze, Spark and Aveo.
The Daewoo name (Korean for ‘Great Universe’) was first used by Daewoo Group in 1967. Before the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998, Daewoo was the second-largest business in Korea (behind Hyundai, ahead of LG and Samsung) with around 20 different divisions.
The roots of the automotive business can be traced back even further to 1937, with the launch of Shinjin Motor, which made a name for itself by rebuilding scraped US military vehicles. After a brief collaboration with Toyota in 1965, it was purchased by General Motors and, interestingly enough, renamed GM-Korea for four years.
The Daewoo Group took control of the automotive business in 1982 and expanded throughout the world in the early 1990s.
GM again took a majority stake in 2001, forming GM Daewoo, which has lasted for the past 10 years.
Daewoo-badged vehicles were sold in Australia until 2004, at which time various models were rebadged as Holdens in Australia, including the Barina, Viva, Epica and Captiva.