General Motors today announced that GM Daewoo would introduce a long-wheelbase sedan, based upon the Holden Statesman and Caprice, in South Korea from early next year. The as-yet-unnamed luxury vehicle will be the flagship of GM Daewoo’s range, complementing the existing GM Daewoo Magnus in South Korea’s premium car market.

Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney, today confirmed the Korea program as another significant expansion of Holden’s export strategy. The vehicles will be built at Holden’s facility in Elizabeth, South Australia, and shipped with two powertrain options – the 2.8-litre and 3.6-litre Global V6 engines to be built at Holden’s Port Melbourne facility.

The South Korean vehicles will be based upon the upcoming WL Holden Statesman exterior, with GM Daewoo design cues developed by Holden Design on advice from GM Daewoo. The cars will be offered with specifications and interior treatment comparable to WL Holden Caprice. GM Daewoo intends to commence sales in the first quarter of 2005, with pricing yet to be determined.

The company plans to ultimately introduce local manufacture of the Holden-based flagship vehicle following renovation and refurbishment of its Incheon facility in South Korea. Mr Mooney today said the Korea program helped Holden to maintain momentum within its global export strategy. “Korea is Holden’s strongest step yet into the Asian region and highlights our relationship with GM Daewoo and within the GM family,” Mr Mooney said.

“Our flagship vehicles have proven popular in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East and we are confident they will strike a chord in South Korea as well. There is nothing to match Statesman and Caprice for sheer space and driveability in that market.

“We have long believed that automotive growth in the Asian region will be among the fastest in the world through this decade. Holden is forecasting to export about 3000 vehicles to South Korea in 2005 and will evaluate reaction to the vehicles from there.

“Holden is also delighted to be able to work with GM Daewoo to prepare for local manufacturing of the vehicle, as part of our regional engineering role. This reinforces Holden’s role as a niche global manufacturer, assisting other GM divisions as required to achieve common goals.”

GM Daewoo President and CEO, Nick Reilly, said the new model would raise the bar for comfort, performance and driveability in the South Korean market. Holden Ltd.
“It will quickly help meet the growing demand in Korea’s premium segment while strengthening our entire product portfolio. The introduction of a prestige model by GM Daewoo is another demonstration of how we are leveraging the global resources of the entire GM Group,” Reilly said.