Made-in-Korea Chevys for GM

General Motors' 2002 purchase of bankrupt Daewoo is looking smart as the Korean unit spearheads a drive to roll out smaller cars
South Korean visitors look at various cars displayed at the Busan Motor Show 2008 in Busan on May 3, 2008. The Busan Motor show started May 3 and will run until May 12 with organizers expecting more than one million people will visit the biennial show. KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images

With oil prices in the stratosphere, Detroit's Big Three automakers are paying the price (BusinessWeek.com, 6/16/08) for concentrating so heavily on gas-guzzling trucks, SUVs, and luxury vehicles in the U.S. But General Motors (GM) executive Michael A. Grimaldi likes to point to one move that has turned out very well: The U.S. giant's takeover of major assets from bankrupt Daewoo Motor in 2002. The Korean operation is a crucial part of a global strategy that has enabled GM to tap local design and engineering talent specializing in smaller cars in Asia and Europe, giving GM a significant boost in small cars. Says Grimaldi, president and chief executive of GM Daewoo Auto & Technology, "It was a smart strategic decision."

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