In order to boost its presence in the fast-growing market, General Motors said Jan. 20 that it would rename its South Korean unit and sell a new range of cars under the Chevrolet badge for the first time.
GM Daewoo Auto and Technology will be renamed GM Korea, and all existing and new products will be introduced under the Chevrolet brand, the company said.
GM Daewoo was created in 2002 after the GM took over the ailing auto unit of now-defunct Daewoo Group and was the only overseas arm of the U.S. giant that did not sell vehicles under the Chevrolet name.
"We are well positioned to bring one of the world's iconic brands to Korea," GM Daewoo CEO Mike Arcamone said. He said the company has the "most aggressive vehicle launch plan" in its history -- a new lineup with the introduction of eight new models this year under one brand platform. The new models include the Camaro and Orlando, the Aveo small car, a new SUV and a new premium midsize sedan. The Chevrolet badge will not be used on the Alpheon sub-large size sedan and the Labo and Damas mini cars, which GM will keep as "independent" brands.
Arcamone expressed confidence that South Koreans would embrace Chevrolet, which has enjoyed success in North America and Europe as well as in emerging markets.
After months of negotiations with creditors, GM signed an agreement last December to ensure the financial and business viability of its South Korean unit.
South Korea's fourth-largest automaker, which is 70.1% owned by GM, saw its domestic market share fall to 7.9% in 2009 from 9.6% in 2008 during the downturn. But overall sales last year rose 29.9% year-on-year due to strong demand at home and abroad. The company said it accounted for 9.5% of the domestic passenger car market last year.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011