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Powerful argument over Lacetti

Going backwards?: The local Daewoo distributor isn't keen on a 1.8-litre engine .

The engine in Daewoo's new small car is the subject of debate

23 Feb 2003

THE new local Daewoo distributor is fightingan apparently losing battle to have its vital newsmall medium car fitted with a 2.0-litre ratherthan a 1.8-litre engine.

The Lacetti goes on sale inSeptember/October to replace the Nubira. Thelatter is sold with a 2.0-litre engine and as GMDaewoo Australia managing director GraemeCoverdale says: "We can see it's a bit silly to beseen to be going backward".

But Mr Coverdale is exuding the air of a manon the wrong end of an argument - at least in theshort term.

Even the fact that GMDA parent Holden isthe biggest shareholder in GM Daewoo itself,and that Holden builds the Family II engine forLacetti in Melbourne and then ships it to Korea,can't seem to sway the argument MrCoverdale's way.

"We are still fighting," he said. "The issue isthe matter of the availability of that engine forthat vehicle. They can do it, but it will take thema little bit of time.

"It's on the agenda everytime we talk to them- but I can't see it being this year."The other crucial issue being negotiated withthe factory in Korea right now is the pricing ofthe new Kalos light car, which replaces theLanos and goes on sale late March.

Although it will come only as a four and five-door initially, and not as a three-door, Mr Coverdale isdetermined to price the car starting at $14,990. He is aiming for 500 sales per month fromKalos.

"We think we need to be there, given the vol-ume of the three-door component of that seg-ment," he explained. "For the industry in thatsegment last year 58 per cent of sales werethree-door, ours were 77 per cent, so the price ispretty important."Mr Coverdale also put a positive spin on GMDaewoo's January sales, which at 505 fell wellshort of January 2002's 669. "It was better thanDecember l," he said.

GM Daewoo, which began trading December1, is aiming for 13,000 sales in 2003, comparedto just under 9400 sales for Daewoo here in2002.

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