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Scoop! Three-door Kalos confirmed

Meeting the challenge: Turning the five-door Kalos into a three-door car has proved quite a challenge, says GM Daewoo boss Nick Reilly.

Daewoo hatches an entry level three-door version of the mini-car Kalos

17 Sep 2003


GM DAEWOO will release three-door, diesel and re-engineered petrol versions of its fledgling Kalos light car in 2005, probably to coincide with its first facelift.

Holden design supremo Mike Simcoe has lent a hand in determining the three-door Kalos’ revised profile, as well as the new nose and tail-light treatments that usually accompany a model’s mid-cycle makeover.

The Kalos five-door was designed by original VW Golf stylist Giorgetto Giugiaro.

The new body addition is in response to key European market requests for a three-door variant, with southern Mediterranean territories such as Spain and Italy particularly keen for it.

But it should also come to Australia, probably in the second half of 2005, pitched in terms of market and pricing against the Hyundai Getz 1.3.

GM Daewoo chief Nick Reilly said that turning the existing five-door Kalos into a harmonious three-door car has proved quite a challenge. It seems its tall-boy look does not lend itself as a three-door design too easily.

Up to five mock-ups were made to properly proportion a three-door style, which suggests it will be somewhat sleeker than the rather upright five-door Kalos. A fastback-like profile outcome is not out of the question either.

It is believed most body panels forward of the windscreen’s leading edge will be new.

And nestling its way underneath the Kalos’ bonnet will be a comprehensively revised petrol powerplant.

The existing 62kW 1.5-litre E-Tec four-cylinder unit will have a major mechanical overhaul as part of the Family One engine family’s “GEN III” development.

An increase in power, torque, refinement and economy are the goals for an engine that has been the cornerstone for Daewoo in Australia since the 1.5 model heralded the marque with a bang back in late 1994.

The existing E-Tec motor’s General Motors roots can be traced to the 1970s.

Meeting tougher emissions requirements is probably the main motivator.

Of more pertinent news to the Kalos’ European and South Korean demographic is the introduction of a four-cylinder diesel engine of 1.3-litre capacity.

At least two diesel engines are known to be currently under development at GM Daewoo’s new design and engineering facilities in Bupyong, South Korea.

The other is a 1.9-litre four-cylinder unit, destined primarily for the Lacetti range but also in with a chance for the Kalos too. A larger-capacity version of around 2.5 litres may also be in the works, but only for the latter car.

With 45 per cent market penetration across Europe this year, it is not surprising GM Daewoo cannot wait for the diesel engine variants to go on sale there.

"We expect to keep struggling a little here in Europe until 2005, when the diesels and other new models start to arrive," said GM Daewoo Europe boss Hardy Spranger.

What is unexpected is that GM Daewoo also expects diesel engines to boom in South Korea, when new, less strict emissions regulations from 2005 will allow such an engine to be fitted to domestic passenger cars.

All these changes should help Daewoo achieve a total annual sales tally of about 750,000 units, which is triple last year’s lacklustre result.

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