1 Jul 1994
By CHRIS HARRIS
Daewoo was affiliated with General Motors until late ’92, when it went solo and developed a series of all-new models under the guidance of former Porsche AG engineer Ulrich Bez. But crippling losses in the latter part of the 1990s saw a bankrupt Daewoo bought out by GM in 2002. The new company, GM Daewoo, is part-controlled by Holden. The recipe for success was easy: take one attractive small car, price it keenly and get a Blue Heeler to flog it.
The Daewoob 1.5i was based on the 1984-1992 GM Vauxhall/Opel Astra. It spearheaded the local arrival of the South Korean manufacturing giant in July 1994.
Against its light-car segment rivals, the 1.5i had size and space going for it, and was available in three-door hatchback, four-door sedan and five-door hatchback configurations.
Power came courtesy of a 57kW 1.5L four-cylinder engine tied to either a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic gearbox.
The 1.5i sold extremely well, with simplicity and value-for-money outweighing the crude mechanicals, below-par dynamics and outdated shape.