Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Dae Who?

Remember Daewoo? I suppose they need some explanation. You seem capitalism in the Far East has its own unique flavor. In the good ole’ US of A we have a near religious belief in “pulling on up by one’s own boot straps”. In Asia, the generally don’t. They have near religious belief in hierarchy. This has equated, for the most part, with a handful of companies who make absolutely everything and do it all under the same name plate. (When a corporation in the states has that level of total market penetration, they generally try to hide the fact. GE for instance owns 7%… of everything. 7 cents out of every dollar spent on Earth go GE. But GE does this by owning the controlling share, rarely outright ownership and they hide it quit well.) Another difference between an American high cap firm like GE and Daewoo is the Daewoo is owned by a very small group of people. The Daewoo clan specifically. Clan politics passed right into the 21 century over in Korea (Japan as well, by the way, though since WWII these “zaibatsu” have kept family ownership, but gone to western style business controls.) These property owning wealth controlling clans are called “chaebol” in Korean

Daewoo was a Korean Company. Most people over here got brand exposure to it with the companies speakers, which while somewhat priceybut gave a pretty good dollar value. If you were from South East Asia, however, you might be more familiar with the companies light machine gun (a 50 cal) which had many of the positive characteristics of the US BMG but was priced like a Chinese Type 67. Daewoo started building cars for the military of its mother state, as well as for export to low in the heels “People’s etc” all over the world. They made good heavy equipment (I can personally attest to the quality of their fork lifts. We used them to move rubber in a Firestone plant I temped in.) And they built helicopters which sort of slipped into the niche that the Russians left behind when they imploded.

Then Daewoo decided to direct market cars in the most competive market on earth: ours.
Their idea was to make very heavy small cars. They would drive like big cars, and would cost like little cars. Sadly(?) it didn’t work. The Daewoo cars were pleasant things, built like a watch. The bodywork was designed by Pinnifarina, the engineering was given to Holden (GM’s Australian group) and the labor was cheap. The problem was very simple. Heavy cars with small engines do not impress people. Particularly college students who were the main target. In fact the whole sales concept was for college students to sell cars to other college students, sort of like Mary Kay with cars. (Which also might have figured in to the companies failure.)

The Daewoo automotive is no more, dissembled by the bloated Korean government whose cheap credit competition protection had helped to create it. But if you recall, GM built the power train. When Daewoo went belly up, GM (who as part of the partnership had been selling Daewoo in developing countries.) Began to sell the Daewoos as Chevys. AND most importantly to this little story, bought the tool and dies for a not-yet-produced sedan that was to address all the problems that Daewoo thought would save them.

Chevy is currently producing it as the “Aveo”. Surprise, surprise. And (ready for another surprise?) Its too heavy for the power plant. It feels very stable but gives barely adequate mileage for a small car and has crappy pick up. (Or more correctly a lack of low speed torque) Chevy has bravely attempted to solve these problems by… (Now remember, this is the company we are pretty much trusting to keep the American car industry from going the way of the dodo bird.) …OK drum roll please…
MAKE IT LONGER, TALLER, WIDER, AND HEAVIER WHILE KEEPING THE SAME GAS GULPING ANEMIC POWER PLANT.

Yeah! Do to the chunky, under powered Aveo what worked so well for Ford with the Mustang in the 70’s! Porkify it!

Seriously, how can these people be so fraggin’ stupid? Do you know what has killed nearly every small car on the road? The company porkifies it. People don’t buy small cars to be safe, cool, or fast. People buy small cars to drive maniacally until they explode unexpectedly on a Tuesday afternoon, at which point they fully plan to pull the license plates, leave it on the road, walk to the nearest auto lot and buy another. Every small car has this happen. They make a good car and then had so much crap that the little engine has to be upgraded, at which point the car moves beyond what people will pay for a deathtrap roller skate that (now) gets crappy gas mileage.

And whats the big new (standard) feature on the Aveo? Automatically heated mirrors, of course…

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April 6, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Remember Dae Woo? I’ve got one sitting my my garage and one sitting under my TV. Yup, I have a Dae Woo car and VCR. They make all sorts of interesting stuff. Yes, the gas mileage stinks for the size of the car, but all in all it has been a good car for us.

    Comment by CC | April 7, 2007 | Reply


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