Daewoo Motor has stopped making its Suzuki Alto-based Tico in Korea, although it will continue producing the subcompact vehicle at its plant in Uzbekistan, Bloomberg News reported.

Daewoo said in a statement it would now focus on the Matiz but would continue making key Tico parts, such as engines, to supply overseas production plants.

Bloomberg said that sales of Ticos and other subcompacts have halved since their peak in 1998 because of Korea's worst recession in decades.

Daewoo began producing Ticos in an alliance with Japan's Suzuki in June 1991, although customers wanted to drive larger sedans.

The Tico became the target of many jokes and nicknames such as "kaktugi,'' or pickled radish cube.

Tico sales reached more than 30,000, taking five percent of the domestic car market, during its first year. In 1996, its sales rose to 104,000 units, or 10 percent of the market, because of government incentives designed to put more economic, fuel-efficient vehicles on the road.

The vehicle chalked up total sales of 413,076 units in the domestic market since its introduction, Bloomberg said.

In June 1992 Daewoo began exporting the Tico and has so far sold a total of 268,142 units, mainly in Central and South America, Eastern Europe and Africa.


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