Retrospective: celebrating the Daewoo Nexia

Major Waffle 90s cars
It's Retrospective, featuring the Daewoo Nexia, Jennifer 'The Power of Love' Rush and a lady wearing a bath towel. Oh yes indeed.

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 Daewoo 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 salespeople receiving no commission. The new car prices were fixed as were the trade-in used car values. £8,295 got you the entry-level Daewoo 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 three-year warranty, three-years free servicing, three-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.

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 earworm. You could be humming this all day. Don't say we didn't warn you.

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