In South Korea, the Daewoo name is being replaced with the Chevrolet brand as part of General Motors’ strategy in expanding overseas. This year, GM's Korea unit (which was known previously as GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co.) changed its name to GM Korea Co.
On March 1, showrooms in South Korea started filling up with cars that bear the Chevy badge. Ankush Arora, vice president of sales for GM Korea, said that sales have surged since the name change. In January and February 2011, sales averaged at 8,000 units a month for the Daewoo brand. In March 2011, Chevrolet sales were expected to reach 12,000 units.
Currently, GM trails behind Hyundai and Kia. However, GM is aiming to achieve a double-digit market share in 2011, compared with 8.1% in 2010. GM’s decision to debut Chevrolet in Korea is part of efforts to position it as its global mass market brand.
At the recent Seoul motor show, GM Korea CEO Mike Arcamone said that this has never happened before in the company’s history. GM has a daunting task ahead of it. It has to make the public aware of its new brand.
It would also have to renovate retail outlets and retrain a nationwide sales force in new product, customer service and aftersales. GM offers the Cadillac in Korea and the Buick LaCrosse as a stand-alone Alpheon subbrand.
However, Chevrolet is the core, whose lineup will be strengthened with eight new models or versions. So far in 2011, Korea has gotten or is about to receive the Camaro sports car; Orlando small minivan; the redesigned Aveo small car (which will come as a hatchback and notchback); the Captiva SUV; a Cruze hatchback; and the Corvette. Korea will also soon get a new Chevy sedan (so far unnamed) that will sell globally, including in the U.S.