GM Daewoo Auto & Technology (GM Daewoo or GMDAT) was first established as National Motor in 1937 in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon, South Korea. After changing its name to Saenara Motor in 1962, Saenara Motor was bought by Shinjin Industrial in 1965, which changed its name to Shinjin Motor after establishing collaborations with Toyota. After Toyota's withdrawal in 1972, Shinjin Motor started a joint venture with General Motors under the name General Motors Korea, but was renamed again in 1976 to Saehan Motor.
After the Daewoo Group gained control in 1982 the name was changed to Daewoo Motor. In the early 1990s the company started to expand heavily throughout the world. Until 1996 all cars were based on models from General Motors. After the Asian financial crisis started in 1997, it took over the troubled jeep specialist SsangYong in 1998, but ran into financial trouble in 1999.
In 2001 General Motors decided to buy most of Daewoo Motor's assets to form GM Daewoo. The new company started operations on October 17, 2002, with GM and its partners Suzuki and SAIC holding a stake of 66.7% with investments of US$400 million. The remaining equity stake of 33.3% was held by Korea Development Bank and several other Korean creditors with investments of US$197 million.
The deal did not include 15 plants, especially Daewoo's oldest plant in Bupyeong which now operates under the name Daewoo Incheon Motor Company as a supplier to GM Daewoo; General Motors plans to buy this plant by 2008. In February 2005, GM invested US$49 million to raise its share in the company to 48.2%. Furthermore, GM acquired 6.9 million shares in GM Daewoo for US$21 million from Suzuki Motors in August of the same year. General Motors' share in GM Daewoo then increased to 50.9%. Suzuki still holds 11% of GMDAT but is reported to be considering selling this to GM.
GMDAT has design, engineering, research & development facilities that are involved in development for various GM products. On November 25, 2003, the design center was relocated to the new 2-story building at the Bupyeong headquarters and assigned the task to style a new SUV based on GM's Theta automobile platform to be released in 2006. GMDAT has manufacturing plants in Korea and an assembly plant in Vietnam. GMDAT-designed cars are also assembled in China, Thailand, India, and Colombia [as of February 2005]. Its cars are marketed in over 140 countries (as of February 2005). In 2004, GMDAT sold more than 900,000 vehicles worldwide.