TOKYO – General Motors Co., trying to position Chevrolet as a key global brand, is killing the long-used GM Daewoo name in South Korea and putting the Chevy bowtie on its cars there.
The name GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co., in use since GM took over the struggling South Korean automaker in 2002, will be phased out by the end of March.
The new name will be GM Korea Co., the company said in a statement.
GM plans to make the changeover with the first-quarter launch of the Camaro, the automaker's first Chevrolet-badged entry in the South Korean market. The sports car is one of eight new or refreshed Chevrolet models scheduled for launch in South Korea this year. Other nameplates include the Spark and Aveo small cars, Cruze compact, Orlando small minivan and Capitva SUV.
“We have studied the brand issue in depth for a long time and have come to the conclusion that launching a new brand strategy and making Chevrolet our primary brand is good for all stakeholders, including especially Korean consumers,” spokesman Park Haeho said.
GM Daewoo already builds one of every four Chevrolet-branded vehicles sold globally. But at home, where Korean customers traditionally favor local brands, it has stuck with the Daewoo badge. South Korea was the last market to sell cars under the GM Daewoo banner.
GM Daewoo serves as GM's center for small-car development and design. The Korean subsidiary took the lead on developing the Chevy Cruze small car and Chevy Sonic subcompact due this year. It also churned out the Orlando minivan bound for Europe.
Overshadowed at home by Hyundai-Kia, GM Daewoo has only 9 percent of the South Korea market. It aims to boost that share to 10 percent. The company boosted domestic and export sales by 20 percent last year to more than 1.8 million units.
Chevrolet posted global sales of 4.26 million vehicles in 2010, and GM said last week the brand's share of global vehicle industry sales grew by 0.35 points to 5.8 percent of all vehicles sold worldwide.