General Motors has discontinued its Labo small pickup in South Korea, GM Authority has learned.
Indeed, The General ceased production of the Labo at the GM Changwon plant, thereby putting an end to one of South Korea’s longest-running and iconic nameplates.
As a reminder, the Labo was a legacy product dating back to the days of Daewoo, which GM began to acquire in 2001 and was offered for three decades as a dedicated vehicle for the South Korean market.
The Labo was first introduced in 1991 under the now-defunct Daewoo brand, which GM replaced with Chevrolet when it fully acquired the defunct South Korean firm in 2011. Since then, the Labo (as well as its van derivative, the Damas) have soldiered on with relatively few updates.
Since their launch in the early 1990s, the Labo and Damas have been South Korea’s most popular light-duty vehicles thanks to their reliability and low operating costs. The Labo, a word of Greek origin that means “work”, features a maximum payload of 550 kilograms (about 1,212 pounds) and is especially popular as an auxiliary vehicle for construction, maintenance, and service work in the country. It’s also often used to sell fast food in the Asian country.
Speaking of the Damas, the micro van will soon follow suit in being discontinued.
Ending production of the Labo and Damas creates space at the GM Changwon plant, which is receiving a $750 million in investment for upgrades to produce an upcoming Chevrolet crossover that will debut in late 2022. In fact, last March the company added a new state-of-the-art paint shop at the Changwon complex to support production of that future model.
Interestingly, the Labo and Damas are the only vehicles from GM (and though the greater Korean auto industry) to be sold without a brand or logo, as outlined by GM Authority in 2020. Indeed, a close look at both vehicles reveals the complete lack of a brand or logo. That’s because, after the phasing out of the Daewoo brand ten years ago, the Labo and Damas never transitioned to be Chevrolet vehicles. Instead, they simply kept their respective model names and continued to be sold as such, albeit without a brand.
The Labo’s discontinuation puts an end to a sort of existential crisis for the model: since it does not meet many emissions and safety laws in effect in South Korea, the Labo has been unavailable throughout history, including in 2006, 2008 and 2013. Arguably more importantly, the discontinuation also closes the final chapter of Daewoo Auto, both for South Korea and for General Motors.