Rory Harvey, sales director for GM Daewoo’s UK operation, is predicting that sales for this year to date will be up 60% by the end of May.

He forecast that Daewoo would sell 20,000 cars this year and 26,000 units in 2005 as a growing number of new products come on stream.

Harvey said new products developed to suit European tastes and an expanding network of dealers were the twin platforms for Daewoo growth.

During the first quarter of next year the company will launch a new Matiz supermini and three-door Kalos followed by a new SUV, sized between Land Rover’s Freelander and Discovery, in 2006.

The as yet un-named SUV has styling cues from the BMW X5, Audi A2 and Land Rover’s Freelander and will introduce Daewoo’s first (and much-needed in Europe) diesel engines.

Built in Korea under licence from Italy’s VM Motori, the 1.5-litre and two-litre turbodiesels will be offered throughout the range, except Matiz. The redesigned Matiz and new SUV will debut at this September’s Paris motor show.

Daewoo’s UK retail network will grow to 100 centres by the end of this year.

The brand, headed in Korea by former GM Vauxhall head Nick Reilly, has longer term plans for an “affordable” two-seater sports car, to provide a “hero or halo” product for the brand.