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Chevrolet? That’ll be the new Daewoo

General Motors is poised to rebrand Daewoo cars as Chevrolets with a European announcement due at the Paris Motor Show in September. This development follows flat denials to fleet operators and dealers from Luton-based importer GM Daewoo that the South Korean-built cars would abandon the badge after an 18-month brand-rebuilding campaign.

Senior GM executives have been concerned about not having control of the brand, particularly in eastern Europe where Daewoos continue to be built by other companies. The carmaker’s marketing experts also argue that there is confusion with Daewoo fridges, microwaves, construction equipment and ships.

Daewoos are badged as Chevrolets in the USA and China and use other GM brands, including Buick and Suzuki, in other markets. But the switch to Chevrolet in the UK would be a particular challenge to the retail network where Daewoos have been imported for 15 years.

GM Daewoo has been building the retail network since taking control of the business in 2002, with retailers investing thousands of pounds in signage and corporate colours. Now, they might be funding a complete rebranding of their showrooms.

GM insiders argue that the transfer could come with the arrival of a new generation of models including a compact SUV and revised Matiz, both due next year, to fit with the concept of a global “value brand”.

How the name change translates to current models is unclear. A GM insider says: “Some people believe UK consumers related Chevrolet to Sting Rays and Impalas but our research shows that the US brand has far greater acceptance and provides a unique rebranding opportunity within the GM family.”

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