Dealers interested in taking the Daewoo franchise will not be allowed to water down the company's approach to aftersales, said Patrick Farrell, UK director of sales and marketing operations.
“Buyers are evangelical about Daewoo – they think we're fantastic,” he said. “Any franchised dealers we appoint will need to buy-in to our philosophy.
“We are determined to retain everything about Daewoo service which exists now – franchised dealers must do it our way.”
Mr Farrell said the decision to appoint dealers was a logical progression of Daewoo UK's strategy to change the way cars were bought and sold. It would be phased in during the autumn.
“Dealers prepared to consider doing things differently have the opportunity to take on a profitable franchise,” he said. “Many of the better dealers and groups in the UK raised the level of the service they provided following Daewoo's arrival in the UK. They have employed customer-focused innovations similar to the ones we introduced.”
Daewoo research among drivers (who are mainly retail customers) showed they were attracted by the manufacturer's aftersales service.
“We don't sell only on price,” said Mr Farrell. “ We sell on the basis of a complete package – good looking cars and customer care which has enabled us to grow to this point.”
Mr Farrell said Daewoo had maintained its investment in new product which meant the range had improved dramatically since the UK launch in spring1995. “If the GM acquisition goes ahead, that can only improve on it,” he said.
“We have a Ford Fiesta rival coming next year and replacements for existing models due over the next three years.”
Alan Pulham, National Franchised Dealers Association director, said: “ I think this is a sensible change of heart by Daewoo and it endorses everything we have always said.
“The quality of Daewoo's range has improved considerably since its arrival six years ago and I am certain some dealers would be interested.
“The franchise could appeal to some former Rover and Mitsubishi dealers in those part of the country where there is a demand for keenly-priced cars. I don't see the plcs being interested – Daewoo would be a franchise for smaller motor retail businesses.”
Daewoo achieved a 1% UK market share in its first 12 months and registrations have totalled 157,000. Its best stores have features such as children's activity areas, refreshments, video walls and interactive touch-screen information.
Its UK management team recognises Daewoo has been perceived as anti-dealer but believes its 'pro-consumer' approach is in line with the way other manufacturers have developed.