DETROIT - The fourth vehicle in Daewoo's lineup is expected to arrive in showrooms in May.
The Korando sport-utility will carry a sticker price of 'around $20,000,' said Bill Tucker, vice president of Daewoo Motor America Inc.
Standard equipment will include full-time four-wheel drive, antilock brakes and air conditioning. A 217-horsepower, 3.2-liter double-overhead-camshaft engine will be produced under DaimlerChrysler license.
The Korando will join the Nubira subcompact, Lanos compact and mid-sized Leganza in the Daewoo lineup. The company began U.S. sales in 1998.
Strictly speaking, the Korando is far from an all-new vehicle. It is produced by Ssangyong Motor Co., which Daewoo acquired in bankruptcy proceedings in 1998. The Korando has been in production since 1986 and is based on an old Isuzu Trooper. However, it has been upgraded heavily by Daewoo.
The Korando's primary competition will come from the Jeep Wrangler. Daewoo hopes its entry will snare more than a few sales from makers of more expensive two-door 4x4s.
First-year sales of the Korando are expected to reach 15,000 units and should climb to 20,000, Tucker said.
The Korando will be joined by two more new models later this year: the Rezzo, a crossover subcompact combining van and passenger car qualities, and the Magnus, a Leganza replacement. It will be larger and offer a six-cylinder engine option not currently available.
Sales growth is expected to gain more momentum through the ongoing expansion of the Daewoo dealer network to 450 by year end, up from the current 290.
Tucker introduced the Korando at the Detroit auto show earlier this month. He deftly deflected a flood of questions about the restructuring of parent Daewoo Group. 'We are moving full speed ahead,' he said. 'We're staying the course.'