Retrospective: Daewoo Nexia

It’s time for Retrospective, PetrolBlog’s trawl through the filing cabinet in search of press photos from yesteryear. This week it’s the turn of Daewoo and in particular the Nexia.

Daewoo burst into the UK in 1995 promising a new way of selling cars, by selling us old cars. The Nexia was essentially a Daewoo Le Mans which itself was based on the MK2 Vauxhall Astra. The larger Espero was a MK2 Vauxhall Cavalier.

And they were quite successful at it too. ‘The biggest company you’ve never heard of’ announced its arrival as far back as 1993 and spent the next couple of years telling us it was coming. The proposition was straightforward and direct – no dealers, no price negotiations, no hidden extras. A hassle free car company.

Daewoo press advert from 1995Daewoo sold its cars through its own agencies with the sales people receiving no commission. The new car prices were fixed as were the trade-in used car values. £8,295 got you the entry-level Nexia and for £12,195 you could own the bells and whistles version of the Espero. Customers were politely warned not to expect any discounts, so in this respect Daewoo was the 1990s equivalent of Dacia.

In fairness, the non-negotiable price did include quite a generous package. Buyers were given a 3-year warranty, 3-years free servicing, 3-years AA cover, a full tank of fuel and 12 months road tax. The cars were basic, but for buyers who just wanted to get from A to C and didn’t worry about the B-road in between, Daewoo struck quite a chord.

But there was more. Anyone who bought an M-reg Daewoo in the spring of 1995 was given the chance to trade it in for an N-reg car in August at no extra cost. An innovative way of Daewoo ensuring as many of its products were seen on the road as possible.

At its peak, there were 18,000 Nexias pootling about in this country, but today this number has dropped to 579. They’ll often appear on eBay for a few hundred notes, often bruised and battered and yet still enjoying regular service. Utterly soulless, devoid of charm and completely lacking in character.

So then why do I look at the Nexia in this press shot and think ‘you know what, that looks a bit of alright’? And no, I’m not talking about the lady with a bath towel tied around her waist. In dark metallic paint (which came free on all Daewoos), it just looks right. But then it would do because it’s a MK2 Astra and a good condition MK2 Astra turns heads. I certainly wouldn’t feel embarrassed parking outside my local supplier of walnut trees in it, even if I had forgotten to dress properly after leaving the shower.

According to the DVLA, P31 LLA is still going strong and taxed until August 2013. I like to think that it’s still regularly visiting the Walnut Tree Stores for those two everyday essentials, Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and kitchen foil.

A well equipped lower-medium family car for the price of a supermini. Is the Sandero the modern equivalent of the Nexia? That’ll be the Dacia.

Daewoo Nexia outside Walnut Tree Stores

I’ll leave you this week with this classic piece of German TV advertising seen in the video above. It features our very own Jennifer ‘Power of Love’ Rush and it’s a joy to behold.

Please note, PetrolBlog accepts no responsibility for the tune becoming a bit of an ear worm. You could be humming this all day. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

11 comments

  1. February 8, 2013
    Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

    Ahh, Daewoo. Later, makers of the Lanos shatchback. If there’s ever an official PetrolBlog shatchback event, I’m buying a Lanos.

    I still have a copy of Autocar knocking about with their original road test of the Nexia in.

    Also, found this tidy Espero on ebay… http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DAEWOO-ESPERO-GLXI-96-GREAT-CAR-/251225242845?pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item3a7e30fcdd

    Reply
    • February 8, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      I’d be quite tempted with the Nexia Shatchback!;)

      Reply
      • February 12, 2013
        aldoliddell

        Of all the cars to bring back, they remade the Belmont!

        Reply
  2. February 8, 2013
    Rich

    Did all Nexias come with attractive ladies to wield their carwash sponges in Germany?

    Reply
    • February 8, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Yes and it was a highly successful campaign.

      Although it was apparently less appealing in the former East Germany!

      Reply
  3. February 8, 2013
    Simon Hingston

    Weren’t they sold from Halfords in many cases? You can see why they started so well when you consider what back up was provided by most car companies at the time. What did for them do you think? Was it as simple as the offering from the traditional companies improved or they launched at the end of a recession and once we had more money they held little interest?
    On the other hand a friend a Nexia about ten years ago and something trivial went wrong which was so expensive to fix it got scrapped despite the rest of the car being good.

    Reply
    • February 8, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      The Motors division simply ran out of money and was picked up by GM. I think.

      And you’re right about Halfords. They serviced about a third of all Daewoos at the time.

      Reply
  4. February 8, 2013
    jboorn

    Daewoos are few and far between here in the States. I thought they had all disappeared. Rusted away to car heaven. Yet, one was cruising down the high way the other day piloted by a batty old woman. I remember someone in my school used to drive one. One day he was hanging out with us and we asked him what kind of car he drove. He replied “Daewoo” and we all looked at each other and said “don’t they make computer monitors dude?”.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the German commercial. Thank you.

    Reply
    • February 8, 2013
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      And the answer to that question would be yes, although I think we only get white goods from them these days. No televisions in the UK.

      Glad you enjoyed the commercial. A gem from the archives!

      Reply
      • February 8, 2013
        Simon Hingston

        Lol these days for Daewoo read Chevrolet here 😉 Sad eh

        Reply
  5. February 8, 2013
    gordon

    seem to remember someone having a Magenta, top of the range, really loaded with goodies in mint condition being scrapped as the electronic brain bit was cooked and he could’nt get a replacement?

    Reply

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