Posco Daewoo, a South Korean conglomerate, is gearing up for a grand return to the Indian market, once known for its iconic Cielo sedan and Matiz hatchback. However, this time, their comeback is driven by a focus on sustainable mobility with plans to introduce electric bikes and e-cycles.
Y S Choi, the General Manager of Posco Daewoo South Korea, attributes the company’s renewed interest in India to the nation’s robust economic growth and escalating consumer demand. In addition to electric two-wheelers, Posco Daewoo also has its sights set on offering power and energy products like solar and inverter batteries, as well as an array of consumer electronics, including LED televisions, air purifiers and refrigerators.
Daewoo’s initial foray into the Indian market dates back to 1995 when they introduced the Cielo, followed by Nexia and Matiz. Regrettably, the company’s assets were acquired by General Motors in 2001, leading to the closure of its India subsidiary in 2003-04. Subsequently, Daewoo was bought by Posco.
For their reentry into India, Daewoo has formed a strategic partnership with Gurugram-based Kelwon Electronics and Appliances. Choi highlights the vast opportunities in the Indian energy and power market, estimated at over $100 billion, as well as the consumer electronics market, valued at more than $20 billion.
The key focus of Daewoo’s strategy is the rapidly expanding Indian electric two-wheeler market. Choi underlines the Indian government’s significant investments in these sectors and Daewoo’s position as a manufacturer of batteries and consumer durables. This combination is seen as a strategic advantage for long-term success in India.
Choi emphasizes the stark contrast in India’s economic landscape over the past two decades, making it impossible to ignore the growth potential that the country presents. He suggests that being part of India’s growth story is now imperative.
Daewoo’s partner in India, Kelwon, plans to initially target the energy and power segment. Their offerings will include automotive batteries for both two-wheelers and four-wheelers, solar batteries, inverter batteries and lubricants. Once the business stabilises, they intend to venture into other categories including consumer electronics in the following financial year.
For home entertainment, Daewoo plans to introduce LED televisions and audio speakers. In the home environment sector, they aim to offer air purifiers, coolers, fans and kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, water purifiers, hobs, chimneys, toasters, etc.
They will be present in both traditional offline distribution and the rapidly growing online e-commerce sector. Plans include establishing around 300 distributor points and collaborating with approximately 15,000 retailers, according to HS Bhatia, Managing Director at Kelwon Electronics and Appliances.