Daewoo is a well-known brand that is not alien to many of us simply because it is undoubtedly one of Korea’s greater success stories. Daewoo which literally translates to “great universe” in Korean known as the Daewoo Group eventually became a major conglomerate in Korea and part of their business component involved the manufacturing of cars. The company has a colourful history and among the incidents in its past included the company being declared bankrupt just before the turn of the century in 1999, with debts amounting to about US$50 billion besides the fact that the company was indeed the second largest conglomerate in South Korea in 1997 trailing close behind the Hyundai Group. Nevertheless, due to the company’s intense diversification strategy there were approximately 20 divisions under the group out of which, come factions were able to survive as independent companies.
Daewoo’s Rise within the Automotive Industry
The Korean government role in the Daewoo’s rise is undeniable based on the fact that the respond from the Korean government to the change of market dynamics was supportive of Daewoo’s initiatives. This involved the government’s realignment towards supporting the mechanical, shipbuilding, petrochemicals and construction industries. This triggered Daewoo to purchase Saehan Motor in 1978 and the company proceeded to produce vehicle under the same name until 1983 when they rebranded the company to carry the Daewoo Motor name. It was not long before the Daewoo Motor brand infiltrated the UK market. The company did not use the conventional dealer ship networks and by 1995 had managed to establish its own retail network. The company rose quickly to be listed as the top 10 motor companies in the world in terms of production. However, again due to mismanagement, the company found itself in financial trouble at which point the automotive arm of Daewoo was sold to Korea based General Motors in 2001. Subsequently in 2011 Daewoo facilities involved in the production of General Motors vehicles was sold to Tata Motors.
Recalls & Other Issues
Over the years since the turn of the century Daewoo has also had its share of recalls along with other major brands and among the most recent being the 2010 recall of 45,957 Winstorm SUVs, 12,604 Lacetti sedans and 135 micro vans (Damas) due to defective steering wheels and flawed fuel hoses whereas the minivans were found to be ill equipped for fire safety. Owners who have not yet done so should avoid private repairs using the Daewoo factory service manual and instead return the cars to their nearest GM dealer for service. There were also other recalls previous to these among which the biggest being in 2004 when 180,000 vehicles required recalls which became a challenge due to the company being defunct in the US during the time. Nevertheless, Daewoo stood firm in its policies over the issue with regards to placing their customers first and managed to resolve the issue before any of the vehicles caused any unwarranted incidents due to the defects that were identified in these vehicles. Daewoo vehicles can still be found on the road as most Daewoo vehicles are known for their robustness and some Daewoo models from previous years are poised to enter the ‘collectors category’ within the next couple of years.