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Daewoo moves to arrest sales decline

Musso makeover: Daewoo's revised Musso, which wears the company's corporate grille, is due here around July, 2000.

Daewoo is gearing up to wage battle in the emerging sub-compact category

21 Jul 1999

DAEWOO will bolster its model line-up with the cheeky Matiz mini-car and a facelifted Nubira during the last half of this year.

The bargain-basement Matiz is likely to be priced around $12,500, pitching it squarely against the Daihatsu Sirion.

Although the Sirion enjoys a monopoly in the sub-compact category for now, tougher times are ahead for the baby Daihatsu.

It will have to contend with the Matiz from around December while the Hyundai Atos and Kia Visto will join the fray next year.

The Matiz will be offered in five-door guise only with a 1.0 or 1.2-litre powerplant residing under the bonnet.

It will be well equipped with dual airbags, air-conditioning, central locking and power windows expected to be among the standard features.

Meanwhile, Daewoo will replace its compact Nubira sedan with a substantially restyled version around October.

Although the newcomer will use essentially the same mechanicals and suspension as the current model, it will be clearly distinguishable externally.

Nubira II will get a completely new nose - with large angular headlights and Daewoo's corporate grille - as well as a squared- off rear end reminiscent of Mitsubishi's Magna.

Inside, the new Nubira will feature climate control air- conditioning, a heated rear seat and an upgraded stereo system.

Daewoo's market share has declined by about 10 per cent this year with 10,825 sales recorded until the end of June. The South Korean car-maker sold 11,822 vehicles during the same period last year.

It has suffered the sales decline despite supplementing its line- up with the Musso and Korando off-roaders, which formerly wore Ssangyong badges.

Daewoo admits sales of the four-wheel drives have been disappointing. Just 223 Mussos have been sold during the first half of this year while Korando sales totalled a paltry 31.

"We need to raise the profile of car," Daewoo Australia public affairs manager Mr Silvio de Denaro said of the Musso.

A facelifted version of the Musso - sporting a new grille and a Daewoo badge - was recently launched in its domestic market and is due here around July, 2000.

The Korando has also been facelifted, although its days here may be numbered owing to its poor sales performance.

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