GM Daewoo Automotive & Technology aims to increase sales by around a third this year, a senior executive told Reuters on Wednesday, as it expands its range of cars to tap into an expected recovery in private spending.

The report noted that GM Daewoo has made mainly sub-compact models such as the Matiz, Kalos and Lacetti, but, as many South Korean drivers prefer larger cars, Daewoo is diversifying its product mix, adding sedans and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) in a bid to push up its domestic market share to 15% over the next few years from 9% now.

"We expect (2006 sales) volume to be between 1.45 million and 1.5 million (units)," vice president Rick Labelle told Reuters.

GM Daewoo, which trails Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors in South Korea, sold 1.15 million vehicles last year, mainly for export, the report noted.

This year, GM Daewoo plans to launch a [Chevrolet Captiva] SUV model in the first half and a diesel-powered passenger car in the second half.

"We will continue investment to develop new models and on diesel engine production as we completed a plant for the engine and as we see strong demand," GM Daewoo president Lee Young-kook told a news conference to unveil the new Tosca sedan.

GM Daewoo aims to increase its domestic sales by half this year to around 150,000 units, Labelle told Reuters. It sold 107,664 units in South Korea in 2005.

The company plans to spend 1.3 trillion won ($1.3 billion) by end-2007 on developing new models and capital expenditure, Lee reportedly said.

The news agency noted that Hyundai said last week it hoped to increase its domestic car sales by more than 10% this year to 630,000 units.