Daewoo Looking Again

Daewoo Motor America, the newest Korean entry into the U.S. automotive market, is again gearing up for a review.
The Compton, Calif.-based car maker is contacting Southern California shops about an estimated $20 million national launch this fall of its 2000 model year automobiles. The company has done only limited advertising since its U.S. launch last September despite conducting a series of regional reviews two years ago.
“We’re in the preliminary phase,” said Colin Lee, a promotions and advertising executive at the client. Daewoo is contacting a “handful” of shops, he said, adding that the process may or may not evolve into a formal review.
The fall campaign would likely serve as a trial run for the chosen shop to handle the full account, he said.
To some, a Daewoo review may feel like dƒjˆ vu. Prior to its U.S. launch, the company selected four agencies for regional ad duties: Ground Zero, Marina del Rey, Calif.; Korey Kay & Partners, New York; Fletcher Martin, Atlanta (then Tausche Martin Lonsdorf); and The Leap Partnership, Chicago. None did much more than strategic research for the client.
Ground Zero executives last week said they were unaware of Daewoo’s new search.
Lee said the company is ready to expand its advertising beyond newspaper and outdoor. “We’re planning to use traditional media: spot TV, radio and newspapers,” he said. Part of the company’s early ad efforts in this country involved getting college students to pitch its products on campus.
U.S. sales have started slowly for Daewoo. In its first four months of operation here, the company sold just 4,000 cars, and is expected to fall short of its annual sales goal of 50,000.
The company sold approximately 2,500 cars in May, its best month thus far. By comparison, Korean competitor Kia sold nearly 15,500.