Daewoo Brand Resurfaces In India But Without Cars

Abhijeet Singh
26 Oct 2023
05:51 PM
2 Min Read

The Korean brand will now enter the electric two-wheeler space as well as batteries and consumer electronics segment.

daewoo enters india mobility outlook

Daewoo was among the earlier entrants into India’s automobile arena when the gates were thrown open in the early 1990s to multinational car companies.

It started off with a bang when the Cielo got the fancy of a market which was salivating on Suzuki products through its joint venture, Maruti Udyog, with the Centre. Daewoo then had another potential smash hit in the form of the petite Matiz when its parent company back home in South Korea went bankrupt and the India story came to an abrupt end.

The other Korean carmaker, Hyundai, however grew from strength to strength and continues to be the strongest challenger to Maruti. Daewoo gradually slipped from public memory even as the Indian consumer got wealthier gradually and is now quite comfortably flaunting luxury brands like Audi and Mercedes.

Today, Daewoo is back though in a completely new avatar after over two decades. However, cars are no longer on its radar but the focus is on other automotive products like batteries and lubricants as well as consumer offerings like voltage stabilisers, water purifiers, appliances, etc. Beyond this is a plan to bring electric two wheelers to India in a couple of years.

“There is an enormous amount of trust associated with Korean brands and we want to continue delivering on that sentiment to a more diverse consumer base”, Chan Ryu, Director, Daewoo India Operations, told Mobility Outlook. The company has formed an alliance with Kelwon Electronics and Appliances to make the most of the present momentum in the market.

H S Bhatia, Managing Director, Kelwon Electronics, added that affordability and value-for-money would be the cornerstone for Daewoo in the coming years. Nearly INR 300 crore has been invested in the project and Daewoo will piggyback on the presence of Kelwon’s sales and marketing strengths across India.

“Kelwon already understands consumer needs and their psyche. Daewoo products will benefit from the infrastructure already present in 11 States,” added Bhatia. The brand wants to focus on its power and energy products, which includes batteries for four and two wheelers, wall-mounted UPS systems etc along with a wider consumer appliances line-up comprising LED televisions, air purifiers, audio speakers, water purifiers, etc.

Electric 2Ws

As for E2Ws, Bhatia said this would not be a problem since Daewoo Posco already has rich knowhow and development capabilities. However, due to policy uncertainties (like the withdrawal of FAME 2 subsidies) coupled with issues relating to some manufacturers, Daewoo will take a year or two before it launches its two-wheelers here. “We will observe the policy framework and release our offerings when the time is right,” he said.

More importantly, added Bhatia, Daewoo needed to build its brand to connect with today’s young buyers who are unaware of its earlier outing with cars. Social media will be leveraged to popularise the brand and spread the word on its Korean engineering roots. It would be equally important to establish a strong dealer network and after-sales channels to ensure that the customer is not hard pressed to service his product.

For old-timers, the return of Daewoo albeit in another form would still be welcome. After all, it was the first to throw down the gauntlet and create a presence with the Cielo. The script may have gone completely awry thanks to bigger problems being faced by its parent company and the subsequent change in ownership to General Motors but the Daewoo era was still special.

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