A decade ago, Hyundai and Kia were just starting to get a foothold in the American market when a third Korean company, Daewoo, began selling its own vehicles here. Despite humble underpinnings, their vehicles stood out thanks to styling from design houses Italdesign and I.DE.A. Combined with a sales force based on college student “agents,” the brand strove to stand out from its competitors by offering low-priced cars with a more youth-oriented slant. The company had three models: the compact Nubira, the subcompact Lanos, and the midsized Leganza.
The brand was short-lived. In 2002, financial trouble forced the company to dissolve, ending sales in America.
Did Daewoo go out of business?
Yes, and no.
The company was a conglomerate, making everything from ships to small electronics. In 1982 they bought car manufacturer Saehan Motors, who had a partnership with GM. Despite becoming independent in 1992, they still had strong connections to the American automaker.
In 1999, Daewoo faced significant financial problems in all of its sectors, forcing them to sell off manufacturing divisions. GM bought part of Daewoo Motors, eventually taking a controlling share of the company in 2002, forming GM Daewoo. This purchase did not include Daewoo Motors America, the U.S. arm of the company. Without support from its parent corporation, the distributor folded, leaving owners without warranty support. Eventually the company was reformed as a separate entity to provide parts and support to current owners.
Daewoos are still sold in America, but under different brand names. Suzuki’s Verona, Forenza, and Reno as well as Chevy’s Aveo and Cruize are GM Daewoo products. British cars show Top Gear’s “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” segment uses a Chevrolet Lacetti, the European market version of the Verona.
Are parts still available for Daewoos?
Daewoo Motor America still distributes parts and provides support through former Daewoo dealers. Common wear items like belts and hoses are available from major aftermarket companies and can be ordered from local parts stores.
While the Leganza ended production when GM took over the company, the Nubira continued production until 2008, and the Lanos was built under license for several years by Poland’s FSO, ensuring that replacement parts should be available for these models for quite a while.