The Big Car Database

Chevrolet Korea

GM Korea Company
Native name
National Motors
Saenara Motors
Shinjin Motors (1966–1972)
General Motors Korea (1972–1976)
Saehan Motors (1976–1983)
Daewoo Motor Corporation (1983–2002)
Subsidiary of General Motors
Industry Automotive
Predecessor Daewoo Motors
Founded 2002; 17 years ago (2002)
Bupyeong, Incheon
South Korea
Area served
Key people
Kaher Kazem, CEO
Minerva Matibag, CFO
Products Automobiles
Parent General Motors Investment Pty Ltd. (48.19%)
Subsidiaries GM Vietnam
Uz-DaewooAuto (50%)
GM Korea
Revised Romanization Hanguk Ji-em
McCune–Reischauer Hang’uk Chi-em


GM Korea's roots go back to the remnants of the Korean War and Shinjin Motors, which launched its business by rebuilding scrapped US military vehicles.

Shinjin Motor was first established as National Motor in 1937 in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon, Japanese Korea. After changing its name to Saenara Motor in 1962, Saenara Motor was bought by Shinjin Industrial in 1965, which changed its name to Shinjin Motor after establishing a partnership with Toyota. After Toyota's withdrawal in 1972 (to keep doing business with China, which would not trade with companies who engaged in South Korea or Taiwan), Shinjin Motor changed its name to GM Korea (GMK) in 1972 with General Motors purchasing a 50% stake in the company from Toyota in 1972; however GMK was renamed again in 1976 to Saehan Motors.

Korean Development Bank (KDB), the company's creditor, took over management in 1976 as the company found itself unable to cope with competition from Hyundai and Kia. After the Daewoo Group gained control in 1982, the name was changed once more to Daewoo Motor. In the early 1990s the company started to expand heavily throughout the world. Until 1996 all Daewoo cars were based on GM-designed models. After the Asian financial crisis reached South Korea in 1997, Daewoo took over the troubled SUV manufacturer SsangYong in 1998, but ran into financial trouble and was forced to sell the company off in 2001 to GM affiliate SAIC.


GM Daewoo

In 2001, General Motors bought most of Daewoo Motor's assets to form GM Daewoo Auto & Technology. The new company started operations on October 17, 2002, with GM and its partners Suzuki and SAIC holding a stake of 66.7% with investments of US$400 million. The GM holding was formally purchased by GM Holden Ltd which holds a seat on the board and is legally responsible for GM Daewoo. The remaining equity stake of 33.3% was held by Korea Development Bank and several other Korean creditors with investments of US$197 million. The deal did not include 15 plants, including Daewoo's oldest plant in Bupyeong-gu which is now operated under the name Incheon Motor Company as a supplier to GM Daewoo. In 2004, Tata Motors purchased Daewoo Truck from GM. In February 2005, GM invested US$49 million to raise its share in the company to 48.2%. In 2010, General Motors owned 82.9%, SAIC 9.9%, and the Daewoo Motor Creditors Committee the remaining 7.2%.

On November 25, 2003, the design center was relocated to the new two-story building at the Bupyeong-gu headquarters. The first car to be produced under the GM Daewoo nameplate was the 2002 Daewoo Lacetti, replacing the Nubira. This car was developed in South Korea under the Daewoo Motor era, but it gradually became a GM world car, sold under many different marques all around the globe. After a few years without any new cars to present, in 2005, GM Daewoo introduced the Holden-based Statesman luxury car replacing the discontinued Daewoo Chairman. The third generation of Matiz was introduced, refreshed by the GM Daewoo design team, and an evolution of the four-door Kalos appeared: the Gentra.

In early 2006, GM Daewoo presented Tosca, the replacement of the Magnus. GM Daewoo's official press releases says that Tosca is an acronym for "Tomorrow Standard Car". The end of the same year, GM Daewoo introduced the Winstorm, its first proper sport utility vehicle (SUV), which was, as the Lacetti, sold worldwide under different brands and names including Opel, Chevrolet, GMC and Holden, and previously Saturn before the demise of that brand in 2010. It featured a common rail Diesel engine for the first time in a Daewoo vehicle, in addition to regular four and six cylinder gasoline engines. The diesel engine design is licensed from the Italian engine maker VM Motori.

2007 saw the introduction of the Lacetti and Kalos hatchback facelift's wagon version, becoming the Gentra X. For 2008, GM Daewoo introduced the first Korean-branded roadster: the G2X sports car, a badge-engineered Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky which was based on the GM Kappa platform, and started to sell the Opel Antara under the name of Winstorm MaXX. The Statesman flagship was also replaced by the new Veritas which is now based on the Holden Caprice V.

Late 2008 and early 2009 were a major period for GM Daewoo with the introduction of the all-new Lacetti Premiere, which is based on the Chevrolet Cruze, a very important compact car for GM divisions worldwide. The newly rechristened third generation of the Matiz was added to the range in 2009 as the Chevrolet Spark.

2010 saw introduction of the Chevrolet Orlando and Alpheon, a local version of the Buick LaCrosse.

Establishment of GM Korea

On January 20, 2011, General Motors announced that GM Daewoo would be renamed GM Korea "to reflect [Daewoo's] heightened status in [the] global operations of GM," effective March 2011. Most of the former Daewoo products were rebadged as Chevrolets, although the Damas/Lobo microtrucks have been sold without a brand name since 2011. GM's luxury division Cadillac is also available in South Korea.

In 2011 the Daewoo Tosca was replaced by a locally built version of the Chevrolet Malibu. More recently, the lowest incomes behind a lower levels of sales, had to throwing the hardest idea of closing now the non-profitable factories from GM Korea unit. These idea provokes protests in the workers of the Bupyeong-gu and Incheon GM Korea plants, when the syndicalized workers refuse to close the operations, and lead a strike against the government to protect their jobs.

GM Withdrawal from Europe and crisis

Since 2014, the Chevrolet-branded GM Korea cars are no longer sold in Europe. In 2017, General Motors finalized its move out of the European market by selling the Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary to Groupe PSA. As a result, the GM no longer has any activities in Europe.This caused closure of Gunsan Plant due to low productivity.

Manufacturing facilities

South Korea
  • Bupyeong-gu: vehicle assembly and gasoline/LPG engine manufacturing (production capacity: est. 440,000/year)
  • Changwon: vehicle assembly and gasoline/LPG engine manufacturing (production capacity: est. 210,000/year)
  • Boryeong: transmission and engine components manufacturing

Former manufacturing facilities

South Korea
  • Gunsan: vehicle assembly and diesel engine manufacturing (production capacity: est. 260,000/year). This plant closed on the May 31, 2018.
  • Hanoi: GM Vietnam vehicle assembly (production capacity: est. 11,000/year) merged by Vinfast in June 2018.[citation needed]


  • 2011~2012: "Chevrolet, is the car"
  • 2012~2015: "LOVE. LIFE." (Chevrolet)
  • 2015~present: "Find New Roads" (Chevrolet)
  • 2018: "다시 힘차게 달린다" + "Find New Roads" (Chevrolet)

Model range

Current models manufactured

  • Chevrolet Malibu (mid-size car; 4-door sedan)
  • Chevrolet Spark (city car; 5-door hatchback)
  • Chevrolet Trax (subcompact SUV; 5-door wagon)
  • Damas/Labo (microvan, pickup; currently does not wear any marque)
  • Buick Encore/Opel Mokka (subcompact SUV; 5-door wagon; export-only)
  • Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva (city car; 5-door hatchback; export-only)
  • Buick Encore GX (an SUV Designed by Shanghai GM)

Current models imported

Cadillac (Cadillac Korea)

  • Cadillac ATS Coupe
  • Cadillac CT6
  • Cadillac CTS
  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Cadillac XT5


  • Chevrolet Bolt EV (developed by GM Korea,Using LG Chem Battery; imported from the U.S.)
  • Chevrolet Camaro SS (muscle car; 2-door coupe; imported from the U.S.)
  • Chevrolet Colorado (midsize pickup truck; imported from the U.S.)
  • Chevrolet Equinox (compact crossover; imported from Mexico)
  • Chevrolet Impala (executive car; imported from the U.S.)
  • Chevrolet Traverse (imported from the U.S.)

Discontinued models

  • Alpheon (executive car; 4-door sedan)
  • Chevrolet Aveo/Sonic (supermini; 5-door hatchback, 4-door sedan)
  • Chevrolet Captiva (compact crossover SUV):Ceased production in July 2018.
  • Chevrolet Cruze (compact car; 4-door sedan, 5-door hatchback); discontinued by the Gunsan Plant shutdown in May 2018.
  • Chevrolet Optra (compact car; 4-door sedan, 5-door hatchback and station wagon)
  • Chevrolet Orlando (compact MPV; 5-door wagon):discontinued by the Gunsan Plant shutdown in May 2018.
  • Chevrolet Volt (plug-in hybrid liftback; imported from the U.S.)


Current models in production

Currently imported models

Former models in production

Concept cars