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First look: Holden wins Korean deal

New nose: The Statesman-based Daewoo will look much like this when it goes on sale in Korea next year.

Korea is confirmed as the latest export market for Holden

Holden logo15 Mar 2004

By BRUCE NEWTON

YOU’RE looking at Holden’s newest export – a long wheelbase luxury Statesman/Caprice dressed up as a GM Daewoo.

The yet-to-be-named car will go on-sale in Korea in the first quarter of 2005, with volume for the year tipped at about 3000 sales.

It will take on the likes of the Hyundai Equus and Ssangyong Chairman in the Korean luxury long wheelbase car market, as well as a sprinkling of Euro rivals like the Mercedes-Benz S class and BMW 7 series.

Holden isn’t putting a value on its latest export contract, only offering a theoretical $165 million earn, based on 3000 cars at $55,000 each.

But the deal had been expected for some time, although there had been some hiccups in negotiations because of exchange rate fluctuations.

What you see here isn’t quite an accurate representation of the Daewoo production vehicle because that will be based on the forthcoming facelifted WL model Statesman and Caprice that go on-sale here late in 2004.

The car in the image is based on the current WK, although the graphic representation including the vertical barred chrome grille and Daewoo bonnet emblem all carry through.

But the production car will use the new generation locally-built HFV6 engine in 2.8 and 3.6-litre capacities.

The Statesman will fill a big hole in Daewoo’s lineup because its flagship car to this point has been the Magnus, a medium-sized sedan that replaced the Leganza but was never sold here.

The car's design cues were developed by Holden Design on advice from GM Daewoo. It will be offered with specifications and interior treatment comparable to WL Holden Caprice.

Further down the track, after the introduction of the Zeta architecture in 2005, the car will switch from manufacture at Elizabeth in South Australia to South Korea.

That will happen once GM Daewoo’s Incheon plant is refurbished, a job Holden is assisting with.

The export of Holden’s Zeta technology is a trend set to be repeated around the globe with the Zeta architecture planned to underpin mass-production Buicks, Chevrolets, Pontiacs and luxury Opel and Saab models.

Holden is actually the biggest single shareholder in GM Daewoo, holding 42.1 per cent of the stock on behalf of General Motors.

It also owns the rights to local distribution of the GM Daewoo range and exports Family II engines to Korea for use in several models.

The trade between the two companies will take another big step with GM Daewoo to supply a mid-size cross-over wagon codenamed C-100 to Holden from late 2005 or early 2006.

Based on the GM Theta architecture, the C-100 has been styled under the direction of Mike Simcoe, the former Holden design director who is now GM Executive Director Asia Pacific Design.

Holden exported a total of 36,069 vehicles worldwide last year, its second highest total behind 1973. Its upcoming coupe program with Vauxhall to the United Kingdom will mean Holden is concurrently exporting to all continents, with the exception of Antarctica, for the first time.

Holden has already built strong export success with its long wheelbase vehicles, sold in the Middle East as the Chevrolet Caprice. A total of 10,953 Caprices were sold in the region last year and a total of 42,000 have been sold since 2000.

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