GM plans to turn Chevrolet into a world brand

Zurich. The Daewoo brand will be called Chevrolet worldwide beginning January 1. Only the plants and the South Korean models will continue to carry the old name - beside those independent producers in Poland, Romania, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine that still own manufacturing rights from the time before General Motors bought the brand.

This is stated in an internal strategy document that has been made available to Automobilwoche.

GM CEO Rick Wagoner will announce the name change on September 16 at a General Motors workshop in the South of France.

At the same time Daewoo boss Nick Reilly will announce the news in South Korea.

Details of the strategy will be disclosed at the Paris auto show - together with the first new models such as the successor to the Matiz and an SUV called Aspen, which was developed in a joint venture with Opel.

This step is not just cosmetic. "Chevrolet will be repositioned as a global brand," the document states. The aim is to turn Chevrolet into a world brand - something that no GM brand has managed so far.

In Europe the autos will be positioned as the "new Asian-American people's car", therefore a superior price-performance offer.

The new name will also distract from the Daewoo Group's crisis-stricken past. It also means that the access to the GM product range will be much easier. "Chevrolet will allow us to offer products for niche segments, which is very difficult for a small brand." Daewoo sold about 300,000 autos in 2003 whereas Chevrolet's sales were around 4 million.

Existing Daewoo customers will have no disadvantages regarding warranty and service. The future Chevrolet dealer network will always be a Daewoo service point, "for as long as there are Daewoo cars on the roads."

According to the document, the fact that there is still a sales network for North American Chevrolets in Europe is not a problem specifically as their official import will soon be finished.

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