Buyers Increasingly Korea Conscious As Daewoo Forges Ahead

GM Daewoo, vying with South Korean counterparts Kia, for leadership in the UK volume brand market share growth stakes, celebrated two years as a General Motors' company with a second appearance at the show.

Rory Harvey, sales director for GM Daewoo, predicted that its sales for this year will be up by 60% by the end of May, to register a similar percentage share rise to Kia, and well ahead of Kia's higher-volume Korean parent company, Hyundai.

He said: "We showed faith in the UK public by pulling out the stops to exhibit at the last NEC show and they have repaid us by buying and driving Daewoos in growing numbers."

The Daewoo sales executive forecast that Daewoo would sell 20,000 cars this year before moving up to 26,000 units in 2005 as a growing number of new products come on stream.

Harvey said new products developed to embrace European tastes and an expanding network of dealers were the twin platforms for Daewoo growth.

During the first quarter of next year the company will bring a new Matiz supermini and the three-door Kalos to market followed by early 2006 when an SUV, sized between Land Rover's Freelander and Discovery, arrives.

The un-named SUV has styling cues from the BMW X5, Audi A2 and Land Rover's Freelander and will herald the introduction of Daewoo's first and much-needed diesel engine.

Built in Korea under licence from Italy’s VM Motori, the 1.5-litre and 2-litre turbo diesels will permeate the range, except Matiz. Both the Matiz and SUV will debut at September's Paris motor show.

Under the GM umbrella Daewoo's retail network will grow to 100 centres by the end of this year with coverage stretching from Inverness to Cornwall.

Further down the road Nick Reilly, the Briton who runs Daewoo in Korea, hopes to unveil an "affordable" two-seater sports car, to provide a "hero or halo" product to elevate the brand and generate showroom traffic.

Reilly, former head of Vauxhall, describes Daewoo as the Tesco value for money brand of the motor industry.

Published 31 May 2004 Melanie Carter

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