Daewoo has been around since the 1930s; however, it wasn’t until the 1990s when the company began to export its cars to the United States. This effort started with a few entry-level cars and one of them was the Daewoo Lanos. Here’s a look at the origins the Lanos before it reached American shores, its short run in the market, and its demise.
1993: Design and development
Before the 90s, Daewoo had a joint venture with General Motors. However, this partnership was dissolved in 1992 and the company decided to create a new line of vehicles independently to replace their current roster immediately after. The initiative to create and develop the Lanos started in 1993. This car was meant to replace the Daewoo Nexia—the brand’s small family car offering at that time. Over twenty vehicles from different manufacturers were studied to create a model for the Lanos and several design studios were also employed to create clay models for the new car’s styling. In the end, the design created by Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro from Italdesign was chosen. After two year, over a hundred prototypes for the Lanos were created and these were subjected to extensive tests in various countries like Austria, Canada, Sweden, Russia, United States, Australia, Italy, Oman, and Spain.
1997: Production and sales
After 30 months under the developmental stage, the Daewoo Lanos was finally released and sold to the Korean market. And in 1997, the car was also sold to the European market. It was initially powered by GM Family 1 D-TEC I4 engines ranging from 1.5 L SOHC to 1.6 L DOHC. It was also initially made available in four models—S or base, SE, SE Plus, and SX. But after a few years, a Sport model was also released to the market. Aside from South Korea, the Lanos was also produced in several other countries in Europe and Asia, particularly in Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Egypt, and Vietnam.
1999: Arriving in the U.S.
The Daewoo Lanos finally arrived in the U.S. in 1999 in an attempt to match the success of the Honda Civic in the region. Like in other parts of the world, the Lanos was also offered in five models that were all powered by a 1.6 L Inline four-cylinder engine. This engine could churn out up to 105 hp at 5,800 rpm. It was offered in a front wheel drive and a 5-speed manual transmission system. Though the model wasn’t that expensive, it didn’t do very well in the American market. This may be attributed to the car’s small size and the quality of the materials used for its interiors.
2002: The end
In 2002, the Lanos was dropped by from the market, not only in the United States but worldwide. At the same time, Daewoo stopped its operations in North America. It was then replaced by the Daewoo Kalos.