Daewoo says the name Leganza was coined by combining two Italian words—elegante or elegance and forza, which meant power. Truly, Daewoo succeeded in creating a car that embodied those two words in the form of the Leganza. This mid-size sedan was produced by Daewoo Motors in South Korea from 1997 to 2002. But apart from its headquarters in Korea, it was also assembled in different parts of the world such as in Egypt, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, and Vietnam. Here’s a quick look at the Leganza’s five years in the market.
Replacing GM-licensed models
Creating the Leganza was part of Deawoo’s efforts in making a complete lineup of vehicles that it could call its own. This particular line of cars would replace the GM-licensed vehicles that the company previously sold. During its developmental stages, the Leganza was referred to as V100. The V100 had sister projects such as the T100 for the Daewoo Lanos and the J100 for the Daewoo Nubira. The development of all these cars required the help of many subcontractors and suppliers. For instance, ZF Friedrichshafen AG—a German engineering company that specializes in the automotive technologies—was contracted to take care of the transmission components. On the other hand, Australian automaker GM Holden Ltd was in-charge of the engines while Dr. Ulrich Bez—a German engineer who’s now the CEO of Aston Martin was tasked to take care of design.
Designing an elegant car
The task of creating the design for the Leganza was given to Giorgetto Giugiaro—a famous Italian automobile designer. It is said that Giugiaro drew inspiration from his design for the 1990 Jaguar Kensington concept car. Because of this, it’s noticeable that the design for the body of the Leganza is quite similar to the Toyota Aristo. Even though he was inspired by his own design of a Jaguar, Giugiaro included trademark Daewoo styling cues in the Leganza. This is said to have stirred a bit of a controversy, though many people liked the final product nonetheless.
A car with power
Upon release, the Leganza was noticeably longer compared to other mid-size European or Asian cars. It had a front-wheel drive, and it was available as a four-door sedan only. It was furnished with an E-TEC II DOHC 16V I4 engine from Holden. For its American and Australian release, it was powered by a 2.2 L engine while its European counterparts were equipped with 2.0 L engines.
Marketing a new car
With a new line of vehicles fresh from the assembly line, Daewoo distributed its new models in different countries all over the world. However, the new cars were not always met with success. The Daewoo Leganza was sold all over the globe bearing its original name—it wasn’t rebadged or sold under the name of a different automaker. One exception, though, was a short-lived Russian version called the Doninvest Kondor, which was assembled by the Russian Doninvest Company.