At the 2000 North American International Auto Show, Daewoo had every intention of introducing a fourth product to its U.S. lineup this year. The Korando small sport/utility vehicle (SUV) was to hit the market in May or June.

Alas, Daewoo has had larger concerns and the Korando never arrived; its parent company in Korea came near bankruptcy and since has been put up for bid in a hotly contested auction, with preferred-bidder Ford dropping out.

The turmoil has set Daewoo's U.S. product lineup on the back burner, although the automaker has rapidly been adding dealerships and has increased sales by 163.7% on year for the January-August timeframe, at 47,256 units.

Daewoo executives say the Korando may come to the U.S. in 2001.

The 2-door SUV, now sold in Korea and some Eastern European countries, resembles a Jeep Wrangler in size as well as styling. It is powered by a 3.2L V-6 engine built in Korea under a licensing agreement with Mercedes-Benz.

Dawewoo had hoped for sales of 15,000 units in its first year, eventually reaching the 20,000 to 25,000 range.

Trouble at home makes the future for new product a bit hazy. Yet an SUV like the Korando might rev up interest.