UK: General Motors considers axing Daewoo brand - paper

By just-auto.com editorial team | 20 July 2004

General Motors is considering scrapping the Daewoo badge for its Korean-made cars in Europe and replacing it with the Chevrolet name it uses in North America and China, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

The Chevrolet brand is also used on locally-assembled Daewoo-made models in India

According to the FT, the review - which GM sources say is leaning towards abandoning the Daewoo name - comes in spite of an intensive 18-month advertising campaign designed to rebuild the Daewoo brand - GM bought a 44.6% stake in the Korean carmaker in October 2002 after it went bankrupt, the report added.

"It is certainly actively being considered," Daewoo reportedly said, adding: "We would be stupid not to consider it."

The paper said it understood a decision was likely before the end of the year.

The FTT said the Daewoo brand is still used by the remnants of the old Korean company in much of eastern Europe, forcing GM to adopt Chevrolet there, but in western Europe GM has spent tens of millions of euros trying to raise awareness of Daewoo.

The mass-market Chevrolet badge is little known in western Europe, the Financial Times added.

In June, GM's Australian subsidiary Holden announced it would wind down GM Daewoo Australia by 31 December 2004 and remove the brand from the local market.

A company statement at the time said Holden's board made the decision in light of the brand's current and forecast performance in Australia as well as the broader competitive environment.

Holden executive director sales and marketing Ross McKenzie said the board had made the right decision to ensure the most successful future for GM operations in Australia.

"We acknowledge that GM Daewoo has had difficult circumstances in the past few years at the global and local level. However, the situation with the brand's reputation in Australia, local distributor and dealer network was more difficult to re-establish than we initially believed," he said.

"This is a matter of brand value and strength rather than a reflection on the products themselves. The positioning of the GM Daewoo brand in Australia simply does not warrant maintaining the current structure.

"The segments in which GMDA participate are incredibly competitive and have become even more intense in the past two years. The bottom line is that you need a strong brand to stay alive.

"General Motors continues to believe in the value proposition of GM Daewoo products and will investigate options across the Asia-Pacific region for the longer term."

Holden also said in June that its decision did not involve Daewoo in New Zealand where Holden New Zealand, also a wholly-owned subsidiary of GM USA, had established GM Daewoo as a trading division to handle the distribution of GM Daewoo vehicles. Holden NZ would separately review that market, Holden Australia said at the time.

General Motors' Holden axes Daewoo brand