중앙데일리

Tall, slim mini-trucks for narrow roads

• BLAST FROM THE PAST– 24 Daewoo Damas and Labo

June 14,2010
The Daewoo Damas and Labo
A truck with the engine of a minicar? It seems like a ridiculous prospect. But the Damas, a minivan, and the Labo, a truck, both made by the company then called Daewoo Motor, both had engine displacements of only 797 cubic centimeters. That’s the same as the Tico, an old minicar also from Daewoo. It seems especially tiny considering GM Daewoo’s current leading minicar, the Matiz Creative, has an engine of 1,000 cubic centimeters.

The Damas and Labo were meant as mini utility vehicles. They were introduced with the Tico around 1991, and the three were the results of Daewoo’s push into mini vehicles.

Daewoo Motor based the Damas and Labo on the Every minivan and Carry truck from Suzuki Motor of Japan. The original Suzukis had even smaller engines of 660 cubic centimeters, but Daewoo modified them to appeal to Korean customers, with improved comfort and lower noise.

When a Damas drives past, it looks something like a bun, because it is narrow but quite tall. It measures 3.2 meters (130 inches) long, 1.4 meters wide and 1.9 meters tall, and weighs 930 kilograms (2,050 pounds).

It came in three versions - with two seats, five seats or seven seats - and was often used for pizza or mail delivery.

Still in production today, the vehicle is priced for small business owners. A basic model with seven seats now sells only a little over 8.5 million won ($6,816). Its sister the Labo is even cheaper, starting at 6.3 million won. The Labo is 3.2 meters long, 1.4 meters wide and 1.8 meters tall. Current models are all powered by liquefied petroleum gas.

Still, their outdated interiors and lack of options such as airbags, ABS systems and power steering are among the major drawbacks.

They are easily overturned because of their shape. It is said drivers can be injured severely in accidents, because the front end is very short.


By Limb Jae-un [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]



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