1 Mar 1995
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. However 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.
Although released in Australia in early 1995, the Espero was already almost five years old in its native South Korea. And it sat on a front-wheel drive platform derived from the early 1980s General Motors J-Car (Holden Camira).
It was even powered by an Australian-made Camira-based engine – an 84kW/176Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder Family II unit allied to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox.
However its sharp five-door hatchback styling was the work of Italian coachbuilder Bertone, which also designed the strikingly similarity 1993 Citroen Xantia around the same time.
Daewoo once again relied on keen pricing and generous equipment levels to lure buyers, including optional driver’s airbag and anti-lock brakes. Air-conditioning, central locking, power windows, power steering and radio/cassette player were standard, but still buyers stayed away.
The Giugiaro-penned Leganza usurped it in mid-’97.