GM renames S. Korea unit, uses Chevrolet brand

US giant General Motors said Thursday it would rename its South Korean unit and sell a new range of cars under the Chevrolet badge for the first time to boost its presence in the fast-growing market.

GM Daewoo Auto and Technology will be renamed GM Korea, and all existing and new products will be introduced under the Chevrolet brand, the company said in a statement.

GM Daewoo was created in 2002 after the US company took over the ailing auto unit of now-defunct Daewoo Group and was the only overseas arm of the US giant that did not sell vehicles under the Chevrolet name.

In 2010 it saw sales rise 20 percent and exports grow 35 percent.

“We are well positioned to bring one of the world’s iconic brands to Korea,” GM Daewoo CEO Mike Arcamone said.

He said the company has the “most aggressive vehicle launch plan” in its history — a new lineup with the introduction of eight new models this year under one brand platform.

The new models include the Camaro and Orlando, the Aveo small car, a new SUV and a new premium midsize sedan.

Arcamone expressed confidence that South Korean customers would embrace Chevrolet, which has enjoyed success in North America and Europe as well as in emerging markets.

GM was left reeling by an industry slump when the global economic crisis hit. It received 49.5 billion dollars from the US Treasury and emerged from a bankruptcy restructuring in 2009.

It successfully returned to public trading last November by raising 23.1 billion dollars in an initial stock offering — the largest in history.