SEOUL - Daewoo Motor Co. showed three new car lines at the Seoul Motor Show. All will come to Europe before the end of the year.
South Korea's No. 3 carmaker also showed three new concept cars: the Matiz mini, the Joyster small roadster and the Tacuma compact sport-utility. The Matiz previews Daewoo's coming M-100 mini. The company has not decided to build either the Joyster or Tacuma.
Daewoo Group Chairman Kim Woo-Choong set an ambitious growth strategy for Daewoo Motor after buying General Motors' stake in the carmaker in 1992. The plan calls for five new car lines, plus a sport-utility and minivan by 2000. The long-term strategy also includes doubling domestic capacity to one million units and acquiring plants or CKD operations abroad that add another 1.3 million units by 2000. South Korea's No. 3 carmaker built more than one million units worldwide in 1996.
The first result of the growth plan was the debut of the Lanos at the end of 1996. It is the first car entirely conceived by Daewoo and not derived from old Opel models. The car was introduced in Korea in November to replace the Nexia and Cielo, both based on the old Opel Kadett.
The Lanos was designed and engineered by Italdesign of Turin, Italy. In Korea, the car is offered in three body variations: three-and five-door hatchback and four-door sedan. It is powered by 1.3-, 1.5-, and 1.6-liter engines capable respectively of 75ps, 86ps and 106ps.
A four-seat cabriolet was unveiled in November 1996, but production won't start until the second half of 1998. For Europe, the cabriolet could be built in Italy by Italian coachbuilder Bertone.
The sedan is the only version of the Lanos now on sale. It measures 4327mm long and 1678mm wide, and rides on a 2520mm wheelbase, about the size of the Ford Escort's. The hatchback is expected to be under 3900mm in length.
Daewoo invested $420 million to develop the Lanos and plans to produce 300,000 units a year at full capacity at its Pupyong, South Korea, plant. Pupyong is Daewoo's biggest facility, capable of 500,000 cars a year. Lanos exports to Europe will begin in late May with a price range of $11,000-$14,000.
The Nubira replaces the upper-medium Espero. It launched in Korea in January and will be exported to Europe starting in late May. The price will be $15,000-$19,000.
Daewoo invested $375 million in the Nubira project. The car was designed by I.De.A. Institute of Turin and engineered in Europe by Daewoo's Worthing Technical Centre in the UK.
The Nubira is built in Daewoo's new $1.2 billion plant in Kunsan, South Korea. The highly automated operation can build 300,000 units a year.
Kunsan can produce 140 units per person per year, compared to 70-80 at other Korean car plants.
The Nubira is currently sold in South Korea as a four-door sedan. It measures 4467mm long and 1700mm wide, with a 2570mm wheelbase. It is powered by 1.6-liter, 106ps and 2.0-liter, 134ps engines.
Two other Nubira body variations, a five-door fastback and a station wagon, were unveiled at the auto show. Production begins this month.
The third new Daewoo is the full-size Leganza. The four-door sedan was launched in Korea in late March. It will be exported to Europe starting in September at a price of about $22,000-$23,000, fully equipped. It replaces the Opel Rekord-based Prince, which is not exported to western Europe.
Daewoo invested $500 million in the Leganza, which was styled by Italdesign and engineered by Daewoo's Pupyong Technical Center. It will be built at the Pupyong plant at a rate of 200,000 a year. The Leganza is 4761mm long, 1779mm wide and uses a 2670mm wheelbase. Engine offerings include a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder. It is offered in 115ps, single overhead cam and 136ps, double overhead cam versions.
Daewoo says Lanos, Nubira and Leganza are all based on new, specific platforms. Sources close to the projects say the three cars are derived from the Opel-based models they replace.
True Daewoo platforms will debut with the next generation of cars, starting in 2002. Daewoo's current planned life cycle is six years per platform, with a major restyling after three years.
All engines are based on Opel technology. The eight-valve, single overhead cam units are built in Korea, while the 16-valve, double overhead engines are imported from Holden, General Motors' Australian subsidiary.
M-100 and A-100
By the end of 1998, Daewoo will complete the renewal of its passenger car range with the M-100 minicar and the A-100 flagship sedan. The M-100 replaces the Suzuki Wagon R-based Tico. The A-100 will replace the Arcadia, a Daewoo-badged Honda Legend built in Korea.
The M-100, designed by Italdesign, is based on the Tico/Suzuki Wagon R. The platform has been widened by 100mm to 1500mm and increased in length to 3500mm. It will be offered with three- and five- door bodies. In Korea, the M-100 will be powered by a 55ps, 0.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. A 1.0-liter engine developing 62ps will be used for export.
The M-100 is expected to be launched in Korea next April. It will be built at the Daewoo Heavy Industries' plant in Changwon at a planned rate of at least 200,000 units a year.
The Mantica concept car shown in Geneva in March and the Matiz concept car unveiled here are said to preview the M-100. The production car is reported to be more traditional in styling, offering more rounded proportions than the square-shaped Tico/Wagon R.
The A-100 is scheduled to debut in late 1998. It is based on the previous-generation Honda Legend.
Daewoo discussed building a re-styled version of the Lancia K with Fiat as an Arcadia replacement, but the talks collapsed. The main concern was volume. Last year Daewoo built just 1,796 Arcadias, all sold in Korea.
Daewoo is also working on a new generation of engines. The XS gasoline series, developed by the company's Munich Technical Center, is a family of modular engines. All will be produced on the same line. The XS family will begin with a straight six-cylinder offered in 2.5-, 2.2- and 2.0-liter versions. It can be mounted longitudinally to drive the rear wheels or transversely for front-wheel-drive cars.
Daewoo will derive a new three-cylinder engine from the six-cylinder for the M-100. Later it will develop a new four-cylinder for the Lanos and Nubira. The new engines will probably not be ready for the A-100 launch. That car will debut with the Honda 3.2-liter V-6.
Daewoo is working with Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik of Austria on a 2.1-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel with direct injection capable of 115ps.
New sport-utility, roadster
The Tacuma compact sport-utility was unveiled as a research prototype at the Seoul show and could be in production by late 1999. No decision has been made on whether to build the car.
Daewoo says it has no plans to build the Joyster small roadster unveiled in Seoul.