Daewoo LeMans

The Daewoo LeMans is a compact car, first manufactured by Daewoo in South Korea between 1986 and 1994, and between 1994 and 1997 as Daewoo Cielo—a car mechanically identical to the LeMans, differentiated only by its modified styling cues. Like all Daewoos preceding it, the LeMans took its underpinnings from a European Opel design. In the case of the LeMans, the GM T platform-based Opel Kadett E was the donor vehicle, essentially just badge engineered into the form of the LeMans, and later as the Cielo after a second more thorough facelift.

Pontiac Le Mans/Daewoo LeMans
20101003 daewoo lemans 1.jpg
Production1986–1997 (South Korea)
1995–2016 (license-built models)
Body and chassis
ClassCompact car
Body style3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
5-door hatchback
LayoutTransverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
PlatformGM T platform
RelatedOpel Kadett E
PredecessorDaewoo Maepsy
Pontiac Acadian
Pontiac T-1000
Pontiac Sunburst (Canada)
SuccessorDaewoo Lanos
Daewoo Nubira

In markets outside South Korea, the original version of the car bore the Asüna GT, Asüna SE, Daewoo 1.5i, Daewoo Fantasy, Daewoo Pointer, Daewoo Racer, Passport Optima and Pontiac LeMans names. The "LeMans" nameplate was not used at all for the facelifted model. Five-door hatchback models exported to Europe were badged Daewoo Nexia with the Daewoo Racer name used seemingly at random on various bodystyles. The Daewoo Heaven name has also been used.

The Cielo was subsequently replaced by the subcompact Daewoo Lanos and the compact Nubira in 1997, except in some Central Asian markets for which production of the four-door continues in Uzbekistan.

Daewoo LeMans (1986–1994)Edit

Daewoo LeMans
1988 Pontiac LeMans sedan (United States)
Also calledAsüna GT (Canada, 1993, high spec hatchback)
Asüna SE (Canada, 1993 sedan & hatchback)
Daewoo 1.5i (Australia, 1994–1995)
Daewoo Fantasy (Thailand)
Daewoo Pointer
Daewoo Racer
Guangtong GTQ5010X (China; JV) Passport Optima (Canada, 1988–1991)
Pontiac LeMans (USA and New Zealand)
AssemblyBupyeong, Incheon, South Korea Zhanjiang, Guangdong, China
Body and chassis
PlatformGM T platform
Transmission4/5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,520 mm (99.2 in)
Width1,662 mm (65.4 in)
Height1,393 mm (54.8 in)
PredecessorDaewoo Maepsy-Na
SuccessorDaewoo Cielo

The original series Daewoo LeMans was available as a three-door hatchback and a four-door sedan when introduced in July 1986.[1] Sales of the LeMans in North America began in 1988, where it was sold as the Pontiac LeMans. The LeMans was one of the first aerodynamically designed cars to be sold in South Korea, and the first to feature a digital dashboard.[1]

For the 1989 model year in the US, more models were released: the new lineup included a sportier Pontiac LeMans GSE, positioned similarly to the Opel Kadett GSi, equipped with a 96 hp (72 kW) 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. The GSE was available in red, white or silver with 14 inch alloy wheels, fog lights and a rear spoiler. The GSE also received the Recaro-style seats of the Kadett. A Pontiac LeMans SE sedan with upgraded equipment from the base and LE models also had the 96 hp (72 kW) 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, also used in the Pontiac Sunbird. In North America, poor quality tarnished sales and the Pontiac LeMans and Asüna SE/GT were discontinued after 1993 with no replacement. In 1994, the Asüna brand was discontinued altogether.

The five-door hatchback body style was known as the Daewoo LeMans Penta5 in South Korea, while the three-door was called Daewoo Racer and only the sedan was called LeMans. Korean market cars received a 1.5-litre engine (with 89 PS or 65 kW) as there was a severe tax penalty for cars with larger engines.[1] In October 1991 the LeMans received a facelift, with a reworked front and superficially changed taillights. This version was called the Asüna SE/GT in the Canadian market, where it replaced the Passport Optima. When South Korean production of the original LeMans finally came to an end in February 1997, over 1 million had been built.[1]

This car was sold in Australia as the "Daewoo 1.5i", with both hatchback and sedan bodywork. It was sold in New Zealand as the Pontiac LeMans from 1989, becoming the first Pontiac badged car to be sold on the NZ market since the Canadian sourced Pontiac Laurentian of the 1960s.


Daewoo Cielo (1994–2016)Edit

Daewoo Cielo
1995-1997 Daewoo Cielo GLX 3-door
Also calledDaewoo Cielo
Daewoo Heaven
Daewoo Nexia
Daewoo Pointer
Daewoo Racer
Chevrolet Nexia
Production1994–1997 (South Korea)
1995–2002 (Vietnam)
1996–2008 (Egypt)
1996–2007 (Romania)
1996–2016 (Uzbekistan)
1995-1997 (United Kingdom)
AssemblyBupyeong, South Korea
Changwon, South Korea (Export models only)
Cairo, Egypt (Daewoo Motors Egypt)
Asaka, Uzbekistan (UzDaewoo)[2]
Surajpur, India (Daewoo India)
Craiova, Romania (Rodae)[3]
Lublin, Poland (DMP)[4]
Hanoi, Vietnam (VIDAMCO)[5]
Kerman, Iran (1996–2004)
Wheelbase2,520 mm (99 in)
Length4,482 mm (176 in) (sedan)
4,256 mm (168 in) (hatchback)
Width1,662 mm (65 in)
Height1,393 mm (55 in)
SuccessorDaewoo Lanos

The second generation LeMans launched in 1994, available as a three- and five-door hatchback and four-door sedan with a 1.5-litre eight-valve or a 1.5-litre 16-valve engine. These new models were still based on the Opel Kadett E, underpinned by the "T-car" platform. There were various trim levels available. Unlike the Kadett, there was never a station wagon version available. Some European markets got the "Lifestyle" trim level; Spain and Portugal badged their GLi/GLXi equivalents "Chess"; the Benelux countries kept the GLi/GLXi trim levels and some markets added ETi and STi specifications.[6] The GLi has an average performance with a 0–100 km/h time of 12.5 seconds and 80 PS (59 kW) at 5,400 rpm. There was also a version with single-point fuel injection and 70 PS (51 kW) for lower-spec versions.[6] The more luxurious GLXi received a sixteen-valve engine which upped the power to 90 PS (66 kW) at an unusually low 4,800 rpm, and the 0–100 km/h time was reduced to 12.2 seconds.[7]

The Cielo was made in India by DCM Daewoo Motors until the Korean Daewoo company went bankrupt. GM did not take over the Indian plant in Surajpur near Delhi and it was liquidated. Production in South Korea came to an end shortly after the 1996 introduction of the Daewoo Lanos, an original design.


There was a prototype of the Nexia debuted in 1995 at the Seoul Motor Show - the NGV 3 (NGV meaning Nexia Green Vehicle). From the outside it looks like a regular Nexia, except that it was powered by an electric motor.[8]

Marketing and productionEdit

United KingdomEdit

Daewoo first exported cars to Europe in the mid 1990s, with the Nexia and Espero forming the two-model line-up in Britain from January 1995. Daewoo was the first manufacturer to sell cars on the British market directly to customers rather than setting up a conventional dealer network, and the appeal of its cars was further enhanced by the following promotions:

  • A low and fixed asking price
  • 3 year/60,000 mile comprehensive warranty
  • 3 years free servicing
  • 3 years free AA membership (which also meant giving a free courtesy car if in an inconvenience)
  • Free delivery plates
  • One-year free road tax
  • A free full tank of petrol
  • 30-day peace-of-mind refund or exchange period
  • A free 'N' plate replacement in August 1995[9]
  • A free mobile phone.

There were two trim levels available. The base model was the GLi which was quite well-equipped at the time, including a 1.5 SOHC (8-valve) engine, 'GLi' emblems at the body wings and boot, single-bench folding rear seat, power steering, driver's airbag and ABS. Different style hubcaps and automatic transmission were an option. After, there was the GLXi which (equipment over GLi) had a 1.5 DOHC (16-valve) engine, 'GLXi' emblems at the body wings and boot, all-round electric windows and mirrors, hubcaps, central locking, rev counter and split-folding rear seats. Alloy wheels were optional only on the GLXi. The "base" model was available for large contracts, the biggest single sale being to NHS Scotland. All models got the same four-spoke steering wheel. On 29 March 1996, Daewoo announced prices for the Nexia were risen to the following:[10]

GLi 3-dr: £8,795

GLi 4-dr: £9,295

GLi 5-dr: £9,295

GLXi 3-dr: £9,995

GLXi 4-dr: £10,495

GLXi 5-dr: £10,495

Then, on 10 October 1996, Daewoo announced that the day after, they will extend the range of all their models with and without air-conditioning (* = without air-conditioning):[11]

GLi 3-dr*: £8,795

GLi 3-dr: £9,295

GLi 4-dr*: £9,295

GLi 4-dr: £9,795

GLi 5-dr*: £9,295

GLi 5-dr: £9,795

GLXi 3-dr: £9,995

GLXi 4-dr: £10,495

GLXi 5-dr: £10,495

On 6 December 1996, Daewoo announced that from 9 December 1996 they will raise the prices of their range reflecting changes made to the vehicles for 1997 model year (Nexia prices):[12]

GLi 3-dr: £9,445

GLi 4-dr: £9,945

GLi 5-dr: £9,945

GLXi 3-dr: £10,645

GLXi 4-dr: £11,145

GLXi 5-dr: £11,145

Most models received a 'TWIN CAM 8v' badge at the rear whilst those with automatic transmission had the 'AUTOMATIC' badge. The dealer plates had the writing 'DAEWOO' in a black background with the phone number, a black line going through either side with the number plate ID under the number plate.

When AA tested the Nexia 1.5 GLi in September 1995, they liked it due to its dealer satisfaction but criticized for being dull. In conclusion they said the Nexia is an ultra-sensible family car, with a hassle-free aftersales package and being good value for money.[13]

Despite making use of a design which was by then more than a decade old, the Nexia was one of the most popular budget family cars in Britain and helped Daewoo gain a 1% share of the new car market in 1996.[14][15] Also, air-conditioning became a free option in every Daewoo, even in the Nexia GLi 3-dr.[16][17] It was replaced there by the Lanos in the autumn of 1997, by which time some 40,000 examples had been sold.[18] Despite this, the Nexia was sold until December 1997.


At July 1997, Daewoo announced that the Nexia won the best-in-class award (beating its rivals) and the favourite model category (behind the BMW 5-Series) in the 1997 Cornhill Insurance Motor Test.[19]


At 26 January 1996, Daewoo recalled all Nexia's since its introduction in April 1995 because of the wiring harness engine bay has been misrouted, which could have resulted in a chafing of the harness.[20]


The Nexia was criticized for having ancient Mk2 Vauxhall Astra mechanicals and styling hints making it dull to look at and drive for some people, especially the saloons as they were Belmont-based. Then, there was the ABS control module which was expensive to replace if it went wrong (MOT failure if it went wrong), this led to many owners getting rid of their Nexia's. Also, it had a lot of electrical problems, and did not fare very well in reliability.[21] Spare parts were also difficult to find as it did not sell very well and the fact that its rivals sold better.[citation needed]


In Romania, manufacturing began in 1996, at the newly acquired Daewoo Automobile Romania factory in Craiova, being the first Daewoo model produced at the plant.[22] It was offered only with the sedan body style,[23] and was exported to most countries in Central and Eastern Europe.[24] The GLE version, which was the full option model, included air conditioning, power steering, front and rear electric windows, fog lamps, central locking, tachometer and a cassette player stereo system. Unlike models intended for Central and Western Europe, the cars sold in Romania (either imported or produced here) were never equipped with ABS or airbags.

In 2000, the model range was extended with the new Executive level, which featured a distinctive chromed grille and borrowed elements from the GLX, such as 14-inch wheels, bigger 256 mm ventilated disk brakes and the double overhead camshaft engine with 16 valves, that offered an increased power output.[25] The Executive also received an electronic ignition distributor from the Lanos. Another addition to the 2000 model was the catalytic converter respecting Euro 2 emission standards. In 2004, because of harsher emission regulations, the factory installed the Lanos 1.5 SOHC engine, which meant a decrease in horsepower, but made the car Euro 3 compliant. During the last 2 years of production, in an effort to update the optional equipment available for the car, the Executive received a CD player instead of the cassette player. It remained in production until 2007, being marketed along with its successor, the Daewoo Nubira.[26]

Model Engine Code Years Displacement Weight Power Torque 0–100 km/h (0-62 mph) Emissions
1.5 L 8V G15MF 1996-2000 1498 cc 1,025 kg (2,260 lb) 75 hp (56 kW; 76 PS) at 5400 rpm 127 N⋅m (94 lb⋅ft) at 3200 rpm 12,5 s Non-Euro
1.5 L 16V A15MF 2000-2004 1498 cc 1,088 kg (2,399 lb) 84 hp (63 kW; 85 PS) at 4800 rpm 136 N⋅m (100 lb⋅ft) at 3400-4600 rpm 12,2 s Euro 2
1.5 L 8V A15SMS 2004-2007 1498 cc 1,078 kg (2,377 lb) 80 hp (60 kW; 81 PS) at 5600 rpm 123 N⋅m (91 lb⋅ft) at 3200 rpm 12,8 s Euro 3


In Uzbekistan, UzDaewooAuto continues to manufacture the four-door sedan version of the Nexia, production of which began in June 1996.[27] It is produced alongside other Daewoo and Chevrolet models and is exported to other countries, such as Kazakhstan, Russia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

It is available with three engines: a 1.5-litre SOHC (56 kW or 75 hp), 1.5-litre DOHC (62 kW or 83 hp) and 1.6-litre DOHC (81 kW or 109 hp). The 1.6 version has more powerful brakes and transmission with an additional long main gear.

A facelift of the car, known as the Nexia II, was presented in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 2008.[28] It was designed in the UK by Concept Group International LTD with cooperation of GM-Uzbekistan. In Uzbekistan, it is currently marketed under the Chevrolet brand, while some export markets (in the CIS area) continue to receive the car as the Daewoo Nexia.[citation needed]

The NetherlandsEdit

Production began in 1995. Two trim levels were available, the GL and GTX. The base model GL came with hubcaps, wind-up windows and manually adjustable mirrors. The GTX was a step up which included different designed hubcaps, air-con, electric windows and mirrors and a tachometer. Special editions included the 'Sport' which included front, rear and side skirts, sporty seats and alloy wheels.[29] All three body types were available. Production terminated in 1997.



  1. ^ a b c d Limb, Jae-un (8 March 2010). "Blast From the Past #17: First flag-bearer of a carmaker's global ambitions". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  2. ^ "Uz-Daewoo in figures". Uz-Daewoo. Archived from the original on 15 August 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  3. ^ "Daewoo in Romania – Istoric" (in Romanian). Daewoo.ro. Archived from the original on 27 January 1998. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Historia Daewoo Motor Polska" (in Polish). Daewoo.Lublin.pl. Archived from the original on 16 July 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  5. ^ "March 1995: First product built up". GM Vietnam. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (10 March 1994). Automobil Revue 1994 (in German and French). 89. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. pp. 218–219. ISBN 3-444-00584-9.
  7. ^ Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (6 March 1997). Automobil Revue 1997 (in German and French). 92. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 516. ISBN 3-444-10479-0.
  8. ^ "Daewoo Nexia - Chronology". Darewnoo. 2 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Daewoo News - Free 'N' plate replacement". Darewnoo. 31 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Daewoo News - Price Rise 1996". Darewnoo. 2 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Daewoo News - Model Range Extended". Darewnoo. 2 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Daewoo News - Prices Increase". Darewnoo. 2 September 2019.
  13. ^ "The AA - Daewoo Nexia 1.5 GLi" (PDF). The AA. 31 August 2019.
  14. ^ "Daewoo News - Daewoo Outselling Rivals". Darewnoo. 31 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Daewoo News - Daewoo approaching 1% in market after 12 months". Darewnoo. 31 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Daewoo News - Free air-conditioning across the range". Darewnoo. 31 August 2019.
  17. ^ "Daewoo News - Correction". Darewnoo. 2 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Daewoo News - New Models from Daewoo". Darewnoo. 3 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Daewoo News - Nexia wins best in class". Darewnoo. 2 September 2019.
  20. ^ "Daewoo News - Nexia Wiring Recall". Darewnoo. 31 August 2019.
  21. ^ "Daewoo Nexia (1995)". Honest John. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  22. ^ "Prezentare Generala". Daewoo Automobile Romania. Archived from the original on 2 February 2001. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  23. ^ "Daewoo Cielo – Technical info". Daewoo Automobile România. Archived from the original on 21 October 2008. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  24. ^ "Lansare NUBIRA II". Daewoo Automobile Romania. Archived from the original on 2 February 2001. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Noile definitii de echipare pentru Cielo raspund mai bine nevoilor clientilor" [New Cielo equipments better meet the needs of customers] (in Romanian). Daewoo Automobile Romania. Archived from the original on 2 February 2001.
  26. ^ "Preturi valabile la 12 martie 2007" [Prices - valid 12 March 2007] (in Romanian). Daewoo Automobile România. Archived from the original on 12 March 2007.
  27. ^ "UzDaewoo Auto Turns 10 Years". (in Russian) daewoo.biz. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
  28. ^ "Cielo cu facelift" (in Romanian). ProMotor. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  29. ^ "Daewoo Espero / Nexia Brochure 1996 NL - Veikl". www.veikl.com. Retrieved 2 November 2019.