GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co., Korea's third-largest automaker, has said that it will develop, produce and export "tens of thousands" of vehicles to Australia beginning in the second half of this year.

The company said it will develop and manufacture cars especially for General Motors Corp.'s Holden nameplate. The announcement followed GM Daewoo's introduction on Monday of the Korea-bound Statesman, which is based on a Holden large sedan.

"We are proud to be adding Australia and Holden to the growing roster of markets and brands that have selected GM Daewoo's Korean product development and manufacturing expertise to help meet their product needs. Holden is the premier vehicle brand in Australia and has that nation's strongest sales network," said Nick Reilly, chief executive of GM's Korean division, according to the Korea Herald.

Chairman Denny Mooney of Melbourne-based Holden suggested that the two GM affiliates are jointly designing and developing a range of models, including a sport utility vehicle, as both are interested in the SUV business.

"We plan to introduce the SUV to the Korean market early next year. We will acquire the Bupyeong plant by the second half of 2006 if it meets the four criteria," said Reilly regarding the factory owned by Daewoo Incheon Motor Co., a remaining unit of the former Daewoo Motor Co. The world's largest automotive group plans to acquire the plant if it meets certain levels of productivity, product quality, labor stability and day and night shifts for six straight months.

"By 2007, we will have fully introduced the SUV, the large car and new diesel models which are the enablers to increase our market share. With the relaunch of some of our existing models, we project GM Daewoo's domestic market share to fall between 15 to 20 percent by then," he said.

Holden plans to bring in GM Daewoo's small four-cylinder engined vehicles such as the Lacetti and Kalos, as they fall under the fastest growing segment in Australia, although specific model names and official timing will be announced later.