Daewoo LeMans

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Daewoo LeMans
1994-1995 Daewoo 1.5i sedan 01.jpg
1994–1995 Daewoo 1.5i sedan (Australia)
Manufacturer Daewoo Motors
Production 1986–1997 (South Korea)
1995–present (license-built models)
Body and chassis
Class Compact car
Body style 3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
5-door hatchback
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Platform GM T platform
Related Opel Kadett E
Predecessor Daewoo Maepsy
Pontiac Acadian
Pontiac T-1000
Pontiac Sunburst (Canada)
Successor Daewoo Lanos
Daewoo Nubira

The Daewoo LeMans/Racer is a compact car, first manufactured by Daewoo Motors in South Korea between 1986 and 1994. It was replaced by the facelifted Daewoo Cielo—a car mechanically identical to the LeMans, differentiated only by its modified styling cues. 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.

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.

In markets outside of 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 original Opel donor car had also been badge-engineered for the United Kingdom market as the Mark II Vauxhall Astra in hatchback form and Vauxhall Belmont as a saloon.

The LeMans was updated in 1994 and renamed the Daewoo Cielo in South Korea and some other international markets; 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.

Daewoo LeMans (1986–1994)[edit]

Daewoo LeMans
Pontiac LeMans Sedan.jpg
1988 Pontiac LeMans sedan (United States)
Also called Asüna GT (Canada, 1991–1993 hatchback)
Asüna SE (Canada, 1991–1993 sedan)
Daewoo 1.5i (Australia, 1994-1995)
Daewoo Fantasy (Thailand)
Daewoo Racer
Daewoo Pointer
Passport Optima (Canada, 1988–1991)
Pontiac LeMans
Production 1986–1995
Body and chassis
Platform GM T platform
Transmission 4/5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,520 mm (99.2 in)
Width 1,662 mm (65.4 in)
Height 1,393 mm (54.8 in)
Predecessor Daewoo Maepsy-Na
Successor Daewoo 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 a monochromatic paint scheme 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. Later that year, 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.


1994–1995 Daewoo 1.5i sedan pre-facelift (Australia) 
1991–1993 Asüna GT hatchback facelift (Canada) 
Daewoo Fantasy sedan facelift (Thailand) 
Daewoo Racer van facelift 

Daewoo Cielo (1994–1997)[edit]

Daewoo Cielo
20100904 daewoo cielo 1.jpg
Also called Daewoo Cielo
Daewoo Heaven
Daewoo Nexia
Daewoo Racer
Daewoo Super Racer
Chevrolet Nexia
Production 1994–1997 (South Korea)
1995–2002 (Vietnam)
1996–2008 (Egypt)
1996–2007 (Romania)
1996–present (Uzbekistan)
Assembly Bupyeong, South Korea
Cairo, Egypt (Daewoo Motors Egypt)
Asaka, Uzbekistan (UzDaewoo)[2]
Craiova, Romania (Rodae)[3]
Lublin, Poland (DMP)[4]
Hanoi, Vietnam (VIDAMCO)[5]
Kerman, Iran[citation needed]
Wheelbase 2,520 mm (99 in)
Length 4,482 mm (176 in) (sedan)
4,256 mm (168 in) (hatchback)
Width 1,662 mm (65 in)
Height 1,393 mm (55 in)
Successor Daewoo 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; in the United Kingdom, where the car sold as the Daewoo Nexia, these were GLi (8-valve) and GLXi (16-valve) for the general public, with a "base" model available for large contracts. 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 11.3 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.

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 a low and fixed asking price as well as a comprehensive warranty and free servicing for three years after the car's sale. 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. It was replaced there by the Lanos in the autumn of 1997, by which time some 40,000 examples had been sold.

Marketing and production[edit]


In Romania, it was manufactured since 1996, at the newly acquired Daewoo Automobile Romania factory in Craiova, being the first Daewoo model produced at the plant.[8] It was offered only with the sedan body style,[9] and was exported to most countries in Central and Eastern Europe.[10]

In 2000, the model range was extended with the new Executive level, which featured a distinctive chromed grille, 14-inch wheels and a new double overhead camshaft engine with 16 valves, that offered an increased power output.[11] It remained in production until 2007, being marketed along its successor, the Daewoo Nubira.[12]


In Uzbekistan, UzDaewooAuto continues to manufacture the four-door sedan version of the Nexia, of which production began in June 1996.[13] It is produced alongside other Daewoo and Chevrolet models, and is exported in 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 facelifted version of the car, known as the Nexia II, was presented in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 2008.[14] 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.


1996 Daewoo Cielo 4-door sedan 
1996 Daewoo Nexia 3-door hatchback 
Daewoo Nexia 5-door hatchback 
2008 Daewoo Nexia II facelift 


  1. ^ a b c d Limb, Jae-un (2010-03-08). "Blast From the Past #17: First flag-bearer of a carmaker's global ambitions". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2011-07-02. 
  2. ^ "Uz-Daewoo in figures". Uz-Daewoo. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  3. ^ "Daewoo in Romania - Istoric" (in Romanian). Daewoo.ro. Archived from the original on 1998-01-27. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  4. ^ "Historia Daewoo Motor Polska" (in Polish). Daewoo.Lublin.pl. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  5. ^ "March 1995: First product built up". GM Vietnam. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  6. ^ a b Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (March 10, 1994). Automobil Revue 1994 (in German/French) 89. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. pp. 218–219. ISBN 3-444-00584-9. 
  7. ^ Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (March 6, 1997). Automobil Revue 1997 (in German/French) 92. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG. p. 516. ISBN 3-444-10479-0. 
  8. ^ "Prezentare Generala". Daewoo Automobile Romania. Archived from the original on 2 February 2001. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Daewoo Cielo - Technical info". Daewoo Automobile România. Archived from the original on 2008-10-21. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  10. ^ "Lansare NUBIRA II". Daewoo Automobile Romania. Archived from the original on 2 February 2001. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Noile definitii de echipare pentru Cielo raspund mai bine nevoilor clientilor". Daewoo Automobile Romania. Archived from the original on 2 February 2001. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Preturi valabile la 12 martie 2007". Daewoo Automobile România. Archived from the original on 12 March 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "UzDaewoo Auto Turns 10 Years". Embassy of Uzbekistan in Belgium. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  14. ^ "Cielo cu facelift" (in Romanian). ProMotor. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2010.