GM Daewoo Auto and Technology is pushing for a new branding strategy which could see it attaching the Chevrolet brand to all its new vehicles this year.
The bold move reflects its newfound confidence from debt repayment and improved performance but has gotten mixed reactions from market watchers.
The Korean unit of the U.S. auto giant plans to unveil its new brand strategies in the near future, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.
Reports and sources said the company is planning to market all of its eight new models planned for the year under the Chevrolet brand.
The new models scheduled for launch this year include the multipurpose vehicle Orlando, subcompact Aveo ― sedan and hatchback ― that will replace the Gentra, Lacetti Premiere hatchback, and the follow up models for the sport utility vehicle Winstorm and the midsized sedan Tosca.
|A worker makes a final check of a GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. vehicle at the company’s Incheon plant. (Bloomberg)|
In addition, the company will begin importing the Chevrolet Camaro to Korea, and may be planning to add the Corvette at a later date. With the exception of the Camaro and the Corvette, which the company had planned from the outset to sell under the Chevrolet brand to lead its entry into the Korean market, all of the new models will be manufactured at GM Daewoo’s facilities in Korea.
In April 2010, GM Daewoo president Mike Arcamone announced that the company plans to bring the Chevrolet brand to Korea to expand its domestic market share and boost profits.
The company’s spokesman said that no decision has been made.
“As president Mike Arcamone said, there will be an announcement about the company’s brand strategies in the near future,” he said.
“At the moment, we are unable to say which vehicle will be launched under which brand.”
Local analysts note that GM Daewoo’s supposed branding decision is emerging in the wake of its repayment of debt and a sharp growth in sales last year.
Last month the company repaid all of more than 1.1 trillion won ($978 million) in debt owed to the Korea Development Bank, freeing itself from a potential opponent to its new strategies.
The company’s share in the domestic market also jumped 19.9 percent last year.
However, some experts remain doubtful about the impact the Chevrolet brand will have on the local market.
“It will only be the marque that will be changed while the vehicles remain unchanged, so I am not sure if consumers will perceive them as imported vehicles,” IBK Securities Co. analyst Lee Hyun-soo said.
“But the introduction of the brand will have a positive effect for the company, but it is unlikely that a significant influence will be exerted on the market or the company’s sales.”
Critics said the move appears to be a step toward ultimately removing the Daewoo name from its models.
GM Daewoo, however, says that decisions regarding its branding strategies have been made with the best interests of the company in mind.
The decision to bring the iconic muscle car Camaro to Korea may be indicative of such intentions.
“The Camaro is not sold in every market that has the Chevrolet brand, despite a constant demand for the vehicle, due to limited production,” the GM Daewoo official said, adding that the Camaro is only produced at one plant and that production speed is also slower than for other vehicles.
“As such, the decision to launch the Camaro here reflects GM leadership’s hopes for the Korean market and their intentions to support the Chevrolet brand’s growth here.”
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)