Daewoo Motors, South Korea

Daewoo Motors, South Korea

Daewoo Motors South Korea



Bupyeong-gu, Incheon, South Korea


Daewoo Motors was a South Korean automotive company which was established in the year 1982. Daewoo Motors was a part of the Daewoo Group. The company was first established in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon, Japanese Korea as National Motor in the year 1937. In November 1932, the name National Motor was changed to Saenara Motor. Saenara was assembling and selling the Datsun Bluebird PL310. In 1962, South Korean government announced the Automobile Industry Promotion Policy and after that the Saenara Motor was established. Saenara Motor was the first automobile company in Korea which was equipped with modern assembly facilities. In 1965, Saenara Motor was bought by Shinjin Industrial and the name Saenara Motor was changed to Shinjin Motors after establishing collaborations with Toyota.

When in 1972, Toyota Withdrawal from Shinjin Motors then the company started joint venture with General Motors under the name GM Korea. In 1976, again the name of the company was changed to the Saehan Motors. GM Korea shortly sold their Rekord under the GM Korea marque, together with the Holden Torana based Chevrolet 1700.


Member of Daewoo Group

When in December 1982 the Daewoo Group gained the control then from January 1983 the name was changed to the 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 the Maepsy-Na. The Royal-Series was kept as same as they are but Daewoo added the  Royale XQ and Royale Duke, Royale Prince and Royale Salon Super. In 1989,  the Daewoo Imperial flagship luxury car was added in the production. Daewoo Imperial styling reminiscent of the contemporary Chrysler Imperial and New Yorker. In 1986, Daewoo LeMans was the first Daewoo addition which was based on the Opel Kadett E. Daewoo LeMans's three-door versions were called the Racer and the five-door version were called Penta-5. It was sold almost worldwide, as the Pontiac LeMans, Asüna GT and SE, or Passport Optima. Daewoo LeMans was one of the greatest success for the Daewoo Motor's. In 1986, Daewoo also offered a badge-engineered version of the Nissan Vanette.


In 1990 Daewoo created the Espero, it was designed by Bertone. In 1991, Daewoo Heavy Industries (DHI) was introduced. DHI was also selling since 1981 the Damas minivan and the Labo mini pickup, all three 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 or Brougham model names until respectively 1997 and 1999. In 1994, Daewoo started importing the second generation Honda Legend to replace the discontinued flagship Imperial, under the name of Arcadia. In late 1996, the Lanos was introduced, it was the first authentic Daewoo Motor product. The Lanos was produced in three variants: four-door, three-door was called Romeo and five-door was called Juliet. One of its main features was the new three-parts corporate grill, reminiscent of the Daewoo Motor emblem, which was to be used on many of the following Daewoo cars.

In February 1997, Daewoo launched the all new Nubira. It was designed by the Italian-based I.DE.A Institute. In 1998, the Matiz was introduced, it was the best known car of Daewoo. In 1999, Daewoo presented the Magnus, which was a development of the existing Leganza.


In 1998, after the Asian financial crisis, Daewoo Motor took over the SsangYong Motor. SsangYong Motor is a four-wheel-drive specialist automaker. Its models, were sold under the Daewoo-SsangYong badge in South Korea, contrary to other areas where they were sold under the Daewoo brand name. SsangYong's flagship limousine named as the Chairman, was on its part integrated to the Daewoo range which become the Daewoo Chairman with a new three-parts Daewoo corporate grill. When in 1999, the whole Daewoo Group ran into financial trouble and the company was forced to sell the 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 acquired Daewoo Motor's assets. In 2002, Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Company was spun off from parent Daewoo Motor Co. Ltd. In 2004, it was acquired by Tata Motors, India's largest passenger automobile and commercial vehicle manufacturing company.



Overseas Engagements

From 1998 to 2003, Daewoo owned a share of an automobile manufacturer, AvtoZAZ. In 2002, the CKD assembly of the Daewoo Lanos started in Ukraine and later it was adopted for full-scale production as the ZAZ Lanos. A version of the Daewoo-developed Chevrolet Aveo has been assembled for local market at the Chornomorsk subsidiary. All of the AvtoZAZ manufacturing facilities were reincorporated into ZAZ. The company even adopted a new logo. The Daewoo part in the joint venture was bought out by the Swiss venture Hirsch & CIE in 2003. In August 1992, Daewoo set up Uz-DaewooAuto, a joint venture in Asaka, Uzbekistan. 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 company in Craiova, Romania, which was producing a derivate of the Citroën Axel model. 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 1998, the low-volume assembly of the Lanos, Nubira and the Leganza started in Taganrog, Russia, at the TagAZ-Doninvest factory. The project did not have much success, so TagAZ turned to Citroën to produce the Berlingo and Hyundai to produce the Accent.


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