The recent announcement by General Motors (GM) that Daewoo will change its name to Chevrolet is a positive step for both current and potential customers, according to Glass’s.
As a South Korean manufacturer with no heritage, Daewoo meant very little to car buyers when it entered the UK in 1995, but quickly made an impact on the market through its revolutionary direct sales process. In 2002 the company was acquired by GM to become GM Daewoo and cars were sold and serviced by about a third of the existing Vauxhall dealer network, as well as independent dealers, further contributing to limited awareness of the Daewoo marque.
According to Alan Cole, Consultant for Glass’s Market Intelligence, the Chevrolet name change will have a positive impact in the UK: "Chevrolet is a well-known and internationally respected brand name. Many car buyers will remember popular music extolling the virtues of Chevy Corvettes and more recently the story of Private Andrew Malone, a GI who didn’t return from Vietnam and whose mother sold his ’66 Corvette in which his spirit continues to ride! The key point is that Chevrolet is a familiar marque to many, with the heritage Daewoo never had the time to develop."
Chevrolet UK is aiming to make a clean break from the Daewoo brand, with all vehicles in showrooms bearing the Chevrolet name from 1st January 2005. Warranty and servicing packages for existing Daewoo owners will continue unchanged.
The brand change will be spearheaded with a new Chevrolet Lacetti Station Wagon (unveiled as a Daewoo at this year’s Birmingham Motor Show but never sold as such) and the Lacetti Sport. Both models will complement the existing range.
"The name change will inevitably result in speculation about the values of used Daewoos. Our view is that residuals for Daewoo cars will not suffer adversely, as the changes relate solely to a re-branding of the badge, rather than a change of ownership. Furthermore, it is very likely that the Chevrolet brand will lift the current image of Daewoo in much the same way that Nissan achieved with Datsun in the early 1980’s," added Cole.
When GM acquired the Daewoo brand in October 2002 used values fell sharply. However, it is important to note that this was due to Daewoo forcing large volumes of new and used cars onto the market in an attempt to liquidate assets. This occurred at a time when there was effectively no dealer network to consume the cars, resulting in a reduction in used values. Today, the GM Daewoo network is well established and there will be no measures to liquidate existing stocks to meet financial objectives or sales targets.
Cole concluded: "As far as the network is concerned it is business as usual - apart from the GM Daewoo signage being changed to Chevrolet."Published 2 October 2004