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I am the not-so-proud owner of a Daewoo Leganza As...

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Dear Tom and Ray:



I am the not-so-proud owner of a 1999 Daewoo Leganza. As you probably know, Daewoo has recently undergone a series of name changes: Daewoo, Daewoe, Daewho? and now, Daegone. Currently, the car has 40,000 miles on it, runs well and is worth far less than I owe on it. Now that the company has closed up shop in the United States, I can't get parts for it. I took it to my local dealer (just before it went out of business) to see about the latch on my glove compartment. The mechanic agreed that it was broken, agreed that it was under warranty and then wished me luck in finding the part. He also mentioned something about timing belts going at around 50,000 miles. What should I do with this time bomb? I'm a member of AAA, and the first question they ask when you call the towing service is "Where do you want it towed to?" What will I tell them: "I don't care where you tow it, but there's $100 in it for you if you lose it before you get there"? Should I treat it like the WorldCom stock in my portfolio (hold on and pray it accrues in value) or trade it before it becomes a Daewon't Run? I laid in a supply of four oil filters and two air filters to try to keep it maintained for another two years (after that, I won't care how dirty the oil or air is). I was thinking of taking the loss and trading it in for a new Jeep Liberty. My wife isn't so sure that's a good idea. What do you suggest? -- Mark

TOM: Well, I know what I'd do. I'd slap a Hyundai badge on it and try to sneak it into one of its dealerships for repair.

RAY: You might as well just keep driving it, Mark. I wouldn't trade it in. It's worth almost nothing now. And if you keep it, at least you've got a decent car to drive.

TOM: Plus, the situation is not entirely hopeless. General Motors has purchased most of Korea's Daewoo Motors Corporation and is forming a joint venture with it. And while GM hasn't provided details, it says the deal includes a plan to have a "third-party administrator" cover warranties for existing Daewoo customers in the United States. So you just have to hold on a little longer, Mark.

RAY: In the meantime, if you can't find a dealer, here's what I'd recommend: Find a local mechanic who is willing to work on the car. He'll be able to get you simple stuff, like belts and hoses. And if you need anything more unusual, try to find it yourself.

TOM: Your best bet is to go on the Web and type "Daewoo parts" into www.google.com or your favorite search engine. That'll turn up some potential parts suppliers, including some Daewoo dealers who still have some parts lying around (although they're dwindling quickly).

RAY: If you don't find the part you need, then you're just going to have to wait for the GM deal to close and for the new system to get up and running. Ordering Daewoo parts from Korea will take you several semesters, according to our sources.

TOM: So drive gently and hope you can hold out until GM swoops in and saves the Dae ... woo. Good luck, Mark.
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