* 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 (Reuters) - 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,” Arcamone said.
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)