Daewoo Motor America Inc. eliminates 50 positions out of 240 as part of a restructuring of North American operations, confirms Gary Connelly, senior vice president of sales and marketing. Mr. Connelly denies the streamlining has anything to do with Daewoo Motor Co. Ltd.'s ongoing problems at its headquarters in South Korea. The automaker, long insolvent, is embroiled in protracted buyout negotiations with General Motors Corp. The layoffs, which included some regional managers, dealer support and public relations staff, result from what Mr. Connelly terms “trimming the fat.” The U.S. will be consolidated into two regions, east and west, down from four. Despite global problems and a drop in U.S. sales, Mr. Connelly claims North American operations have been profitable and says money saved through cost cuts will be spent on marketing. Daewoo has 512 U.S. dealerships and wants 550 by year's end. Daewoo still plans to bring a crossover vehicle, codenamed U-100 and sold as the Rezzo in South Korea, to the U.S. next year. The unnamed vehicle will be priced about $13,000. The automaker also plans an all-new Leganza, based on the Korean Magnus, by September 2002, with a new 2.5L 6-cyl. powerplant.