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The Genesis of the Daewoo Matiz: From Fiat’s Concept to Icon

daewoo matiz

In the annals of recent automotive history, the genesis of iconic cars often involves a blend of visionary design, technological innovation, and corporate foresight. The story of the Daewoo Matiz is no exception, tracing its roots back to the fertile grounds of Italian design and South Korean ambition.

Fiat's request

It all began in 1992, when ANFIA, the Italian automotive industry association, summoned renowned “carrozzerie” (coachbuilders) to reimagine the timeless Fiat Cinquecento. This call to reinterpretation, backed by Fiat itself, led to the unveiling of the Fiat Cinquecento ID by Italdesign at the Turin Motor Show. Among other interpretations from esteemed design houses like Pininfarina, Bertone, Zagato, and Maggiora, the ID stood out as a symbol of compact agility tailored for urban landscapes.

The Lucciola

The following year witnessed the transformation of the static ID Cinquecento into the dynamic Lucciola prototype, a metamorphosis that would pave the way for the Daewoo Matiz. Named in homage to the coachbuilder Francis Lombardi, renowned for its Fiat-based custom models, the Lucciola embodied a vision of eco-friendliness and versatility. Crafted with recyclable materials and featuring an aluminum body, the Lucciola embraced an electrically-driven hybrid system, promising both spirited performance and environmental stewardship.

Unveiled at prestigious events like the Geneva and Bologna Motor Shows in 1993, the Fiat 500 Lucciola captivated audiences with its innovative hybrid technology and adaptable design. Despite Fiat’s initial interest, the project ultimately foundered, leading to the resurgence of the Seicento as a modern interpretation of the Cinquecento’s legacy.

Daewoo's Vision: From Lucciola to d'Arts

Enter Kim Woo-choong, the visionary president of Daewoo, who recognized the potential of the Lucciola as the foundation for a new small car. Collaborating with Giugiaro, the acclaimed designer behind the Lucciola, Daewoo embarked on a journey to redefine urban mobility.

The result of this collaboration was the d’Arts, a compact marvel that retained the essence of the Lucciola while refining its form and function. With its MPV body, innovative floor structure, and judicious use of plastic materials, the d’Arts promised a blend of practicality and style.

The Birth of Daewoo Matiz: From Prototype to Production

In 1997, the d’Arts emerged from the cocoon of prototyping with a new identity: the Daewoo Matiz. Symbolizing shade and shelter in Spanish, the Matiz embodied a fresh perspective on urban transportation. From its debut at the Seoul Motorshow to subsequent exhibitions showcasing variants like the d’Arts City, Style, and Sport, the Matiz captured hearts with its distinctive design and spirited performance.

Embodying the ethos of the M Series, denoting microcar lineage and the dawn of a new generation, the Matiz marked a milestone in automotive evolution. With its compact dimensions and versatile 5-door configuration, the Matiz transcended boundaries, earning acclaim both domestically and abroad.

Design and Features: The Matiz's Endearing Qualities

Featuring rounded contours, circular lighting, and an array of vibrant colors, the Matiz exuded charm and charisma at every turn. Despite its diminutive stature, it accommodated five passengers comfortably, earning accolades as a mini minivan with a big heart.

daewoo matiz


As it cruised into the annals of automotive history, the Daewoo Matiz left an indelible mark on the urban landscape. Its legacy endures as a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. From Fiat’s conceptual spark to Daewoo’s transformative vision, the Matiz stands as a shining beacon of ingenuity in motion.

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Tribute to Marcello Gandini with the Prototype Unveiled at the 1972 Geneva Motor Show: A Unique Model Exuding Elegance and Personality

From May 24 to 26, the BMW Group Classic and the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este will host the legendary Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The most spectacular cars from different eras and around the world will compete in various categories to win prestigious awards. Among these are the coveted BMW Group Trophy awarded by the Jury, the traditional Coppa d’Oro based on public votes, the Design Award for concept cars and prototypes, and the special ASI Trophy for the best-preserved post-war vehicle.

The presence of the Automotoclub Storico Italiano (ASI) at this unmissable international event is highlighted by the display of the Citroën GS Camargue prototype from the ASI Bertone Collection. This car enriches the theme dedicated to Marcello Gandini – the recently deceased master of car design – set up in the park of Villa Erba on Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26. Also at Villa Erba, as part of the “Amici & Automobili” event, the ASI-affiliated Veteran Car Club of Como will accompany the Camargue with a precious selection of historical cars from its members.

The Citroën Camargue was first presented at the Bertone stand at the 1972 Geneva Motor Show, where it was met with great enthusiasm from both the public and the press. Built on the innovative Citroën GS platform, which was launched in 1970, the Bertone coupé, styled by Marcello Gandini with the assistance of Marc Deschamps, retains the compact sedan’s layout and dimensions. The car features distinctive front and rear overhangs – the front being much more pronounced to enhance the car’s dynamic look. Lower and wider than the GS, the Camargue boasts a wedge-shaped front typical of Gandini’s style, contrasting with a truncated rear end supporting a broad, panoramic canopy with amber-tinted glass, paired with a chic metallic champagne-colored body. Despite its striking and original design, the Bertone proposal did not reach commercial production due to Citroën’s economic crisis during those years, which led to its merger with Peugeot in 1974.

The format of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este includes a double location in Cernobbio, on the shores of Lake Como. On Saturday, May 25, the exclusive Hotel Villa d’Este’s park will host the display of all competing cars, the jury inspection, voting, parade, and the awarding of the Coppa d’Oro and special prizes. Simultaneously, Villa Erba will host the “Amici & Automobili” meeting with an exhibition of historical cars from clubs and enthusiasts.

On Sunday, May 26, the event will continue at Villa Erba with a festival celebrating automotive passion: all cars in the competition will be displayed in the park until the concluding parade, where the Design Award, class prizes, and honorable mentions will be awarded.