In 1992, Daewoo dissolved its joint-venture with General Motors, and simultaneously a decision was made to independently develop replacements for the contemporary Daewoo Motors products, based on older General Motors models. The Lanos development programme was formally started in autumn 1993, with the goal to create a car to replace Daewoo Nexia as Daewoo's small family car.
The project began with a comparative study of competing models from 20 different manufacturers, with Toyota Tercel, Opel Astra and Volkswagen Golf identified as most competitive. Four design studios were commissioned to deliver clay models preseting their ideas for the new model's styling. Giorgetto Giugiaro's design was chosen, and Italdesign was commissioned to develop the car's final outside and interior styling. The technical side of the project was conducted simultaneously by Daewoo's development centre Korea as well as suppliers and contractors, who were involved in developing particular components. This included AC Rochester (engine componentry), Delco Chassis Division (brakes, including ABS), GM Powertrain (automatic transmission), Italdesign (body, structural analysis, electrics, prototype construction), PARS Passive Rückhaltesysteme GmbH (airbags) and Porsche (vehicle concept— research, structural analysis, suspension and brake components,and experimental production supervision).