Junkyard Find: 2000 Daewoo Lanos Sedan
Of all the far-flung outposts of the sprawling GM Empire, Daewoo produced some of the best stories. Today's Junkyard Find is an example of one of the three car models sold with Daewoo badging during the company's brief attempt to establish a toehold under its own name in North America.
The early 2000s were exciting times at Daewoo, what with the CEO fleeing the country to avoid jail time (he was arrested and did time later on), a bankruptcy in 2000 plus another round of arrests the following year, and so on.
Cars bearing actual Daewoo badging were available on our continent for just the 2000 through 2002 model years, though. The flagship was the Daewoo Leganza luxury sedan (the successor of which returned here in 2004 as the Suzuki Verona), the compact Corolla-fighter was the Daewoo Nubira (the successor of which returned here in 2005 as the Suzuki Reno), and the entry-level subcompact was the Daewoo Lanos (the successor of which returned here in 2004 as the Chevrolet Aveo).
Build quality was pretty terrible, but it took a while for car shoppers to catch on to that.
The soon-to-be-a-fugitive Kim Woo-Choong came up with a brilliant idea for selling Daewoos in the United States: sign up college students as "Daewoo Campus Advisors" and have them promote the cars to their fellow students. Plenty of college students were loaned free Daewoos, many of which were never returned and caused legal headaches for years after. Daewoo fled the continent in 2002, after which Manny, Moe, and Jack were hired to do warranty service (really!).
The Lanos was really cheap. The sticker price for the three-door hatchback was $8,669, while this four-door sedan listed at $9,449 (that's about $15,364 and $16,7464, respectively, in 2023 dollars). The not-so-bad 2000 Hyundai Accent cost just $9,699 for the sedan ($17,190 now),
The Lanos had an E-TEC-equipped 1.6-liter straight-four rated at 105 horsepower.
The base transmission was a five-speed manual, but the original buyer of this car spent an extra $800 ($1,418 now) for the four-speed automatic.
129,752 miles is pretty decent for a Lanos.
If you have cannabis stickers on your Daewoo, you need some beer stickers to balance that out.
This air conditioning added $700 to the final cost, or $1,241 after inflation.
The Lanos is known for exactly one cinematic appearance (NSFW).
What could go wrong?
Perhaps we'd better go to South Korea.
[Images: The author]
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Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.
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