We return to Abandoned History’s coverage of the twists and turns of the Daewoo story, at a time when the company’s predecessor, Shinjin, was no more. After an early Seventies joint venture with General Motors saw the company renamed to General Motors Korea, Shinjin bowed out of the deal after just five years. In 1976 Shinjin’s ownership in the business was sold to a state-owned Korean bank, and General Motors Korea was renamed to Saehan Motor Company. But that didn’t mean GM was out of the picture - far from it.
After a few successful years building a trio of Toyota models (Corona, Publica, and Crown), Shinjin was forced to look elsewhere for a business partner. Toyota wanted to sell cars in China, and China forbade any company that sold products on its shores from having operations in South Korea. As expected, the government stepped in and assisted in a new deal between Toyota, Shinjin, and General Motors.
The deal was finalized in 1972 and saw Toyota sell its stake in Shinjin directly to GM. The 50-50 GM-Shinjin venture saw the latter immediately renamed to General Motors Korea. GMK was immediately the new face of GM product distribution in South Korea. Let’s embark upon a series of particular business arrangements involving Shinjin that didn’t last very long.
We started our coverage of GM’s Eighties and Nineties branding adventures last week, with the short-lived experiment that was Passport. The dealership network was an amalgamation of GM-owned or influenced brands from Japan, Sweden, and in the case of the Passport Optima, South Korea. Passport lasted from 1987 through 1991 before GM changed directions. In addition to axing an unsuccessful sales channel, Geo and Saturn cars had arrived during Passport’s tenure and made things more complicated. Let’s learn some more about GM’s Canadian dealership networks.
In the Eighties and Nineties, General Motors of Canada decided to try new distribution strategies for its imported cars. Like in the recent Dodge Colt series, General Motors had its own captive import cars and trucks that were manufactured by other brands. But because of dealership arrangements in Canada, GM took things a step further than Chrysler and established a separate distribution network for its imported wares. The efforts lead to the thrilling Passport and Asüna brands for the Canadian market. First up, Passport.
The Intermeccanica marque is a new one to Rare Rides, and even in scouring the obscure vehicles of the internet one does not come across the name often.
Intermeccanica has dabbled in a number of different automotive enterprises since its inception, and the Indra seen here is one of its more successful projects.
Rare Rides featured its first Bitter last year, when a golden SC coupe from 1984 graced these pages. In that article we mentioned we’d return when the company’s first model, the CD, turned up for sale somewhere.
And today’s the day! Let’s take a look at Bitter’s initial product offering.
Last week we played a round of Armchair Alternative History where we discussed missed opportunities in the automotive industry. Conversation focused on actions automakers didn’t take when they should’ve.
Today is round two. Let’s go back and erase things that actually happened.
Last week, in our Wednesday QOTD post, we switched over to the darker side of truck and SUV design from the Nineties. It seemed many of our dear readers were less than fans of the so-called “jellybean” Ford F-150. This week, attention shifts to east — to Europe. Which trucks and SUVs from that most stylish of continents have aged the worst in terms of styling?
In the Wednesday QOTD last week, we began our considerations of the truck and SUV models from the nineties which aged most gracefully. American offerings were the first up for discussion, and the majority of you chimed in to agree with my assessment of the GMT 400 trucks as some of the best-aged designs. There were so many great GMT variations from which to choose!
Today we move on to Europe, which may be more challenging.
The German automaker that cranks out Buick Regals and, until this summer, Buick Cascadas for American consumers is suddenly flying high, distancing itself from its money pit days under former parent General Motors.
After trying and failing to return the Opel (and sister brand Vauxhall) to profitability, GM offloaded the automaker to the French in August, 2017. In cutting its losses, Opel’s former parent put the brand’s future in the hands of PSA’s shrewd CEO, Carlos Tavares, who then enacted the same cost-cutting turnaround plan he performed on his own company. The financial about-face was a quick one.
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- FreedMike I suppose that in some crowded city like Rome or Tokyo, there's a market for a luxurious pint-size car. I don't think they'll be able to give them away here in the U.S.
- TMA1 How much did exchange rates affect this decision? The Renegade is imported from Italy. I'm wondering if that's what caused the price to reach within a few hundred of the much bigger Compass. Kind of a no-brainer to pick the larger, more modern vehicle.
- CEastwood Everytime I see one of these I think there's a dummie who could have bought a real car , but has to say look at me driving this cool thing I can't drive in the rain like an actual motorcycle that I should have bought in the first place ! It's not Batman I see driving these - it's middle age Fatman .
- SilverCoupe I should be the potential audience for this (current A5 owner, considering an S5 in the future), but I can't say it excites me. I have never liked the vertical bars in the grilles of sporting Mercedes models, for one thing. The interior doesn't speak to me either.I would be more likely to consider a BMW 4 Series, though not the current version with the double Edsel grille. Still, I suppose it would be worth a look when the time comes to replace my current vehicle.
- Verbal Can we expect this model to help M-B improve on finishing 29th out of 30 brands in CR's recent reliability survey?