One of my favorite activities is to visit Autotrader and search for the most ridiculous things for sale. Usually I choose "Ferrari: Sort by Price – Highest," or "Lexus LS400: Miles – Highest," or pull a Hoovie by selecting "Rolls Royce Phantom: Price – Lowest." Well, the other day I was scrolling through manufacturers and somehow I just realized that Daewoo was an option. When I clicked, I was a bit shocked. There was not just one or two, but SIX Daewoos for sale at one time.
At this point you’re asking one of two questions. The first question, if you are like me, is "How?" The second is for those either younger than me, or not complete automotive nerds: "What’s a Daewoo?" The first question we may never have an answer to, but the second? Well, here you go.
The Daewoo Group was founded in 1967 in Seoul, South Korea. Daewoo literally means "Great Woo," named after the founder Kim Woo-jung. Very humble. In 1978, the Daewoo Group purchased Saehan Motors, a company that dated back to 1937 and had many connections with Toyota and Datsun in Korea. By 1983, most vehicles had been re-branded to Daewoos — and in 1997, they finally entered the U.S. market. For a full rundown of the models sold in the U.S., follow this link to an Autotrader.com/Oversteer link from 2016.
With Yugo leaving the U.S. market in 1992, Hyundai and Kia were left to fight over being the worst cars for sale in America, as the Korean cars of the 1990s and early 2000s were not the nice cars they are today. These were cheap, ugly and the most embarrassing vehicles to own. That was, until Daewoo came over in 1997 and took the spotlight for junk. These cars were sold directly by Daewoo, and they were far and away the cheapest — and worst — cars on sale.
Common issues with the Daewoos included:
Timing belts snapping before service interval was due because of poor design, which would bend the valves on the engine
Body panels would rub the wiring harness against a body seam on the floor panel until it shorted and the cars would no longer start
The plastic camshaft sensors would overheat and melt, sometimes causing fires under the hood
Heat, especially in southern states, would cause materials to delaminate and seats to disintegrate
There were less than no options to start out, so at least nothing inside usually broke
With that said, nearly 20 years later, Daewoo is now just interesting — so it’s cool to peruse the six Daewoo models listed for sale on Autotrader. My very favorite is this 2000 Daewoo Nubira Wagon, which is a rare vehicle even by Daewoo standards — and it’s a car you barely saw on the road back then, let alone now.
These Daewoo models are all interesting, all weird and all special — if you’re into weird cars. And, be honest, you are — and you’re going to check them out. Find a Daewoo for sale
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