DETROIT -- A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Daewoo Motor America Inc. against General Motors over GM's distribution of former Daewoo models in the United States.
Judge Gregory A. Presnell said Daewoo Motor America has no exclusive rights to vehicles manufactured by GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co.
Presnell ruled on Aug. 26 in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Fla.,
The judge said the vehicles were not a protected property right under bankruptcy law.
Daewoo Motor America had been the U.S. distributor for Daewoo vehicles.
On Nov. 10, 2000, Daewoo Motor Co. Ltd. filed for bankruptcy protection in Korea.
Joseph Coyne, outside counsel for Daewoo Motor America, says the company will appeal.
GM Daewoo Auto & Technology builds the subcompact Chevrolet Aveo. The vehicle is based on a former Daewoo vehicle.
American Suzuki Motor Corp. in Brea, Calif., was a co-defendant. Suzuki sells two GM Daewoo models, the Suzuki Verona mid-sized sedan and Forenza compact sedan.
The agreement that set up GM Daewoo Auto & Technology was at the core of the complaint. GM and its partners purchased most of the assets of the bankrupt Daewoo Motor Co. But the partnership excluded Daewoo Motor America and Daewoo's factory in Bupyong, near Seoul.
GM said that creditors and the Korean bankruptcy court approved its purchase of Daewoo assets. GM is entitled to use the Daewoo Motor Co. assets that were included in the transaction as it sees fit, says GM spokesman Jerry Dubrowski.
"The Korean court ruled the reorganization was appropriate," Dubrow-ski says. "Essentially this court said if you don't like one ruling, you can't go find another to reverse a decision."
Daewoo Motor America argued it had the sole right to distribute Daewoo-produced vehicles in the United States.
The court found there is "no language to suggest that DMA has the broad right to sell or distribute any car manufactured by DMC or its successors," Presnell said.
The lawsuit sought "hundreds of millions of dollars" in damages.
Lawsuits by 23 Daewoo dealers are pending. They were combined in Florida.