GM to Resume Production of Popular Minivans

GM Korea will produce the Damas minivan and the Labo minitruck again starting from the latter half of this year after a halt late last year when they fell short of new emission standards.

The government has decided to ease regulations temporarily for the two models after small business owners insisted they need the vans.

The Environment Ministry on Tuesday said the two models will be exempt from the new regulations for the next six years.

Launched in 1991, the Damas and Labo became popular among small businesses because they are cheap and small enough to navigate narrow alleys. Some 13,000 units were sold every year in the Korean market.

Last year there was a rush to buy them before production came to halt, with sales rising to 20,000 units, which accounted for about 14 percent of GM Korea's totals sales here.

Until last year, the Damas cost W9.04-9.46 million, and the Labo W7.41-8.18 million (US$1=W1,068).

GM Korea said that it will resume production in July. Instead of taking full advantage of the grace period, it promised to come up with other safety measures such as limiting the maximum speed to 99 km/h.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 08, 2014 12:27 KST