General Motors brand Chevrolet will launch a new range of Daewoo-built small, compact and midsize vehicles throughout Europe from January 2005.

Initially the vehicles will be sourced from South Korea factories, but additional models will later be introduced from other GM plants world-wide.

“This reflects GM’s strategy to increasingly position Chevrolet as its affordable entry-level brand for developed markets, and a volume mainstream brand for emerging markets,” GM said in a statement.

Chevrolet-branded cars built by GM Daewoo are already sold in several markets in Central and Eastern Europe, in North and South America, in several Asian markets and South Africa and GM claims sales have exceeded expectations.

GM has so far invested $US1.5 billion in the South Korean design, engineering and manufacturing facilities. At the Paris motor show, the S3X concept car will preview the first diesel-powered Chevrolet to be launched in Europe.

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The new Chevrolet Europe organisation has been formed from the current European GM Daewoo distribution and servicing network. Chevrolet will offer its customers a pan-European network of over 1,800 outlets. Existing Daewoo owners will get the same warranty terms and their vehicles will be serviced at the same retailers and service outlets selling the new Chevrolet line-up.

The new organisation will be merged with the overall GM Europe sales, marketing & after sales organisation.

Jonathan Browning, GM Europe head of sales, said: “Chevrolet has a global presence in more than 70 countries with sales last year of over 3.6 million vehicles. The new range of cars will provide the affordable entry brand in GM’s new European product strategy.”

The current line-up of North American built Chevrolets is already sold in all EU countries, along with Switzerland and Norway . Distribution of the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Trans Sport and Tahoe will remain the sole responsibility of GM’s partner, the Kroymans Corporation, based in The Netherlands, which recently took over European distribution of Cadillac from GM itself.