The 2005 replacement for the Diamante, built on the Galant platform and code-named PS41, is not yet signed off for export to the U.S., though a long-wheelbase luxury version PSL, due in 2007, has U.S. exports marked on its card.
Mr Pike said negotiations and discussion on the export potential for the PSL for worldwide markets are currently underway.
“The are lots of open issues on a lot of countries. Global design gives us lots of opportunities we don’t currently have,” he said of the 2007 PSL’s export potential.
The PS41 and PSL are believed to be in line for a performance hike thanks to a larger V-6 engine, expected to be a version of the 3.8-liter unit used in today’s Pajero 4WD SUV.
Aussie design chief plots Daewoo’s new look
Michael Simcoe, Holden’s Melbourne-based Director of Design and recently appointed GM Director of Design for the Asia Pacific Region, says Daewoo won’t be rushing concept cars to major international shows.
“My job is to fix the design department,” he says candidly.
Citing a huge cultural chasm between the Koreans and Western ideas mainly in management but flowing into design language, Simcoe — who penned the 2004 V-8 Pontiac GTO (nee Holden Monaro) — says freeing the minds of the design staff is a priority.
“They have some good people but they are used to taking direction from the top on everything.”
He says micro management from the head of the company in all matters previously stifled creativity. Designers knew lines were wrong but wouldn’t say so. Now he is trying to free up initiative within a broader set of guidelines.
“There is a push to get a compact SUV. They don’t have any and that’s where they’re hurting. SUVs are vital for both of the key growth markets of the U.S. and Europe,” he says.
What he doesn’t say in so many worlds is that GM’s Holden too needs a compact SUV.
While key competitor showrooms overflow with 4WD and crossovers, Holden has only the tiny rebadged Suzuki/GM Cruze and its own homegrown V-8 powered Adventra. A rebadged Daweoo SUV for Holden would be handy.
Daewoo’s future lies not only with its own brand, but by building vehicles for others. Daewoo-built Suzuki branded vehicles already sell in the U.S. with Chevrolet following.
Designing a vehicle or vehicle line destined for multiple brands, multiple markets, and multiple market levels is no challenge for Simcoe. His 1997 Holden VT Commodore is sold in the Middle East as a Chevrolet and in South America as an Opel.
“Daewoo has six platforms and a few variants. At Holden we have one platform and many variants (over 30 at the last count).”
So what of the design direction for Daewoo after 2004? “They will be distinctive vehicles, but still seen as Korean,” Simcoe says, “not that there’s anything wrong with that.
“In the past there have been so many other (external) design houses all doing their interpretation of what a Korean vehicle, or Daewoo, should be, that in the mix they lost the plot.
“From a numerical point of view the quality is good, but perceived quality not very good. That’s due to the type of materials they use.
“Daewoo is positioned as an entry-level vehicle, that’s their core, that’s why GM bought them. They could move some vehicles a bit further up the tree, and we will have to do that because of the brands they’ll build for.
“Chevrolet is not a bottom-end brand. When they build for Shanghai GM and their Buick nameplate that’s up-market, and Suzuki does not want bottom-end vehicles,” he says.