Daewoo Motors Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

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History [ edit ]

The company was first established as National Motor in 1937 in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon. South Korea. The name was changed to Saenara Motor in November 1962. Saenara was assembling and selling the Datsun Bluebird PL310. [ 1 ] Very first automobile company in Korea, Saenara was equipped with modern assembly facilities, and was established after the Automobile Industry Promotion Policy was announced by the South Korean government in 1962. [ 2 ] Saenara Motor was then bought by Shinjin Industrial in 1965, which changed its name to Shinjin Motors after establishing collaborations with Toyota .

After Toyota’s withdrawal in 1972, Shinjin Motor started a joint venture with General Motors under the name General Motors Korea (GMK), but was renamed again in 1976 to Saehan Motor . GMK shortly sold their Rekord under the GMK marque. together with the Holden Torana based Chevrolet 1700 .

Member of the Daewoo Group [ edit ]

Daewoo Matiz

After the Daewoo Group gained control in 1982 the name was changed to 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 Royale Series models were kept, Daewoo adding the Royale XQ and Royale Duke (March 1982), Royale Prince (July 1983) and Royale Salon Super (March 1986). Above the Royale range, the Daewoo Imperial flagship luxury car was added in 1989, with styling reminiscent of the contemporary Chrysler Imperial and New Yorker, but also luxury Japanese sedans.

It was produced until 1993.

The first Daewoo addition was the 1986 Daewoo LeMans. based on the Opel Kadett E. Its three-door versions were called the Racer and the five-door version were called Penta-5. This car had an international ambition for GM, as it was sold almost worldwide, as the Pontiac LeMans, Asüna GT and SE, or Passport Optima. This car was produced until February 1997, being one of Daewoo Motor’s greatest successes. In 1986, Daewoo also offered a badge-engineered version of the Nissan Vanette .

In 1990, they created the Espero. designed by Bertone. initiating a tradition at Daewoo Motor of models created by Italian designers. Daewoo Heavy Industries (DHI) introduced in 1991, the Tico mini car, which was sold at Daewoo Motor’s dealers. 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 1992, the joint-venture with General Motors ended, leaving Daewoo Motor as an independent company.

In 1994, Daewoo started importing the second generation Honda Legend to replace the discontinued flagship Imperial, under the name of Arcadia. This year, the LeMans also got a slight refresh, and all variants (three, four and five-door) were then sold under the Cielo model name.

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The first authentic Daewoo Motor product, the Lanos. was introduced in late 1996. It spawned three variants: four-door, three-door, called Romeo, and a five-door, the Juliet, being the first model of a whole new family of cars to be created. Styling was by Giorgetto Giugiaro ‘s Italdesign firm. 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, the Nubira was launched, the first Daewoo model to be produced in their then new Kunsan motor plant. It was designed by the Italian-based I.DE.A Institute. In March 1997, the mid-sized Leganza followed, also designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. borrowing some styling cues from the existing 1990 Jaguar Kensington concept car. [ 3 ]

In 1998 one of Daewoo’s best known cars was introduced, the Matiz. The design was again signed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and based on his 1992 Lucciola concept car, which was initially imagined as a replacement for the Fiat Cinquecento. This car became Daewoo Motor’s best-seller for the next four years. [ citation needed ] In 1999, Daewoo presented the Magnus. which was a development of the existing Leganza. Sold in Korea, alongside the Leganza, until the end of the latter’s production in 2002, it existed in two variants: Classic and the sportier Eagle.

The Rezzo minivan was also introduced in early 2000. The Matiz, Lanos and Nubira got a mid-life facelift in 2001. In 2002, the Magnus L6 was introduced, equipped with Daewoo’s first straight-six engine. with a new front grill and lamps.

The same year, Daewoo also presented the Kalos subcompact, designed to replace the Lanos.

Acquisition and later sale of SsangYong Motor [ edit ]

In 1998, after the Asian financial crisis. Daewoo Motor took over the troubled four-wheel-drive specialist SsangYong Motor. only to sell it off again in 2000, because the conglomerate ran into deep financial troubles. 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, the Chairman. was on its part integrated to the Daewoo range, becoming the Daewoo Chairman, with a new three-parts Daewoo corporate grill.

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