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.
As part of the efforts to make Chevrolet a key global brand, GM will be using the Chevy nameplate instead of the GM Daewoo name in South Korea. Ever since GM took over Daewoo in 2002, the name GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. has been in use. But GM has confirmed that the name will be phased out by the end of March.
However, as soon as March 1, showrooms in South Korea started filling up with cars with 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.
The changeover was first seen with the first-quarter launch of the Camaro, the first Chevrolet-badged entry in the South Korean market. There are eight new or refreshed Chevrolet models that are scheduled to be launched in South Korea this year.
Currently, GM trails behind Hyundai and Kia. However, GM is aiming to achieve a double-digit market share in 2011, compared with 8.1 percent in 2010. GM’s decision to debut Chevrolet in South 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 South 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, South 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 as a notchback); the Captiva SUV; a Cruze hatchback; and the Corvette. South Korea will also soon get a new Chevrolet sedan (so far unnamed) that will sell globally, including in the US.