* Resurgent GM seeks to boost S.Korean sales with new brand
* To launch 8 new models covering most segments in S.Korea
* GM Korea targets double-digit market share in 2011
SEOUL, Jan 20 GM Daewoo, a South Korean unit of
General Motors (GM.N), said on Thursday that it will rename its
brand as Chevrolet and launch eight new models this year, in a
bid to reinvigorate its domestic sales and market share.
The rebranding comes as GM seeks to make a comeback in the
global auto market, after having been hit by the global financial
crisis, completing the world's biggest-ever initial public
offering in November.
Its South Korean unit said that it will drop the badge "GM
Daewoo," dogged by negative publicity stemming from bankrupt
South Korean automaker Daewoo Motor acquired by GM in the early
2000s. It will introduce the Chevrolet brand for all of its new
products this year.
The company name GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co will also be
replaced by GM Korea Company in the first quarter.
The change is "a needed momentum to increase our sales and
our share in the domestic market," Mike Arcamone, President and
CEO of GM Daewoo, said at a news conference.
Arcamone said the company targets a double-digit share in the
domestic market this year, up from 8.1 percent last year.
GM Daewoo's market share hovered below 10 percent for three
consecutive years in 2010, ranking behind Hyundai Motor
(005380.KS), Kia Motors (000270.KS) and Renault Samsung, the
South Korean unit of French carmaker Renault SA (RENA.PA).
He said GM Daewoo posted a 20 percent rise in sales last year
and expects a similar level of sales growth this year.
But the Chevrolet brand has low recognition among South
Korean consumers and faces intensifying competition from rivals,
especially market leader Hyundai Motor which is seeking to revive
its domestic market share.
The upcoming Chevrolet models include Chevrolet Camaro,
Chevrolet Orlando and Chevrolet Aveo.
"This important new brand strategy is designed to strengthen
our commitment to the Korean market, recognising it as one of the
strongest performing countries within GM's global operations,"
South Korea is a relatively small market for GM, but is a key
GM production base which exports more than 80 percent of vehicles
produced in the country.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)