A decision on whether to build a new GM Daewoo plant in South Korea will be made next year.

Speaking at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, Nick Reilly, the president and CEO of GM Daewoo, said: "We will be up to full capacity half way through this year. We have got a few alternatives, which could be putting a plant on to a third shift but I don't like to do that as a permanent thing."

He added "We have CKD plants for high duty countries [i.e. countries which impose high import duties on fully imported cars to encourage local assembly] and some of them are not operating at full capacity. We could use them to extend capacity in South Korea but it's not a long term solution. Doing that would buy us an extra three years, which would be the time frame to get a new plant up and running. We will make a decision next year on whether we need a new plant."

Hybrid engines will appear in the Chevrolet Captiva and Opel/Vauxhall Antara SUVs by 2009.

Both cars are built on the same platform as the Saturn Vue, so it's natural to assume they'll get the same hybrid system that's in the Green Line version of the Vue, unveiled at the 2006 NAIAS.

But that's not right, said Reilly. "It will be a version of the two-mode hybrid system that was unveiled in the [newly introduced Chevrolet Tahoe, a large luxury SUV for the US market]. It's going to be two or three years away, and that's going to be the first application of the unit - in those two brands - because it's something that's not being done by other people."

So what about in other cars? Reilly confirmed: "There's work going on across the product range and there will be four or five applications across the two brands of Vauxhall and Chevrolet."

A second SUV could soon be available from Chevrolet's South Korean operation, too. The model would sit underneath the Captiva - previously shown in 'concept' form and due to make its world debut as a production model at next month's Geneva motor show.

Reilly said: "Potentially there's a smaller SUV."

This could be something new, or it could be something from South Korea which could be based on the T2X concept. That was unveiled at the Seoul Motor Show 2005 as an unbadged silver car on the GM Daewoo stand. But, crucially, since that event it's been resprayed blue and now wears Chevy badges.

Richard Yarrow - Interchange News Agency