After the Daewoo brand fled these shores in 2002 (leaving Manny, Moe, and Jack in charge of warranty service and the company’s founder on the run from the long arm of the South Korean law), the sprawling GM Empire found a means to continue selling the Leganza and Nubira here: as the Suzuki Verona and Suzuki Forenza/Reno, respectively. Here’s a banged-up Forenza in a Denver yard with the extremely rare five-speed manual transmission.
The second-gen Nubira was known as the Lacetti in most non-North American markets; here, the sedans and wagons got Forenza badges and the hatchbacks became Renos.
The idea was that potential Corolla or Civic shoppers would note the lower prices on the Forenza/Reno and smash down the doors to the nearest Suzuki dealerships in their frenzy to buy, climbing over the broken bodies of weaker customers in their haste to sign on the line which is dotted. As we all know, this Suzuki dream never materialized.
The very cheapest Forenza sedan started at $13,449 in 2006 (about $17,660 today), which compared favorably to the stripped-down Corolla CE with manual transmission ($14,015) and three-pedal Civic DX sedan ($14,760). The Hyundai Elantra 5-speed sedan cost $14,065, but those favoring dirt-cheap South Korean iron in 2006 always had the Kia Spectra as a $12,895 option. Anyone seen a Spectra lately?
By the middle 2000s, however, the idea of saving a grand or so by getting a new commuter sedan with a manual transmission seemed absurd to most North Americans. With ever-longer commutes and more addictive mobile phones, we needed both hands free while driving; any car-enthusiast nerd who preferred a manual would have held out for something like a GTI or Civic Si. Still, someone saw the bargain in this Forenza and took it home.
D-TEC just kicked in, yo! This 2.0-liter Opel four made a not-very-impressive 126 horsepower. An earlier version powered the Nubira and Leganza.
Top Gear UK switched to the Forenza (badged as a Chevrolet Lacetti) as its Reasonably Priced Car for 2006, and it just seems unfair that this car’s quickest celebrity driver kept referring to this South Korean car as a “Yankee piece of (BLEEP)” during his lap.
At least it took its final ride wearing MB wheels.
Show the cubes at your 9-to-5 that you want more out of life, by tearing off your clothes in the elevator, then sprinting off to a Forenza-enabled mountain bike ride. How did she get her sneakers on so quickly?
It gives so much and asks so little.
Because every Daewoo-designed car ends up being sold for decades around the world, this one could be purchased on every continent save Antarctica. The Indian-market version was known as the Chevrolet Optra.
Naturally, you can still buy one in a couple of the former republics of the USSR. Here we see a Uzbekistani driver challenging the Grim Reaper to take him (and maybe some unlucky bystanders) to the afterworld while behind the wheel of his Ravon Gentra.
For links to 2000+ additional Junkyard Finds (including many interesting Daewoo products), check out the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.