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Old 5th April 2012, 17:13   #1
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Default Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures

(Disclaimer: Images are copyrighted SS and AK. Use of the images without giving credit/ source link by other websites strictly prohibited.)

DAEWOO MOTORS


Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-171.jpg

Its often said that "a picture speaks more than a worth of a one thousand word truth". Truth, be told, lke many times before, often lies on the senses of the listener and the believer.

If you look at the picture above, this place was once home to the biggest automobile manufacturing plant in Asia in the mid to late 90s. Today, this place lies deserted, isolated, calm, forgotten yet unforgetteable. But, whats the real inside story today? Are things still in place after the pendulum of events that made news nationwide? The place, that was once bristling with activity and winning many hearts and minds alike (mine including in 2000) lies almost dead, in the middle of the town of Surajpur, at the ourskirts of greater noida, just opposite the yamaha plant.

Think you know it all? If not, think again.

Welcome to the isolated world of daewoo motors India limited, surajpur, UP factory, now mostly owned by Mr. BVR Subbu's Argentum motors.

Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-35.jpg

The board above may claim that daewoo made some great automobiles since the past 30 years, but reality was that this same boad was put in place in 1998 at the time of the matiz launch, which took place in november 1998 in India.
Daewoo's innings, lasting 7 odd years (1995-2002) were an innings akin to a cricket match, or in other words, a corporate cricket match ran by decisions inspired by both see-saw and pendulum. Manufacturers of cars like the Cielo, Matiz and Nexia, these shortlived products did leave a lasting impression in the Indian market in that time.
The company may have been a victim of big worldwide corporate bankruptcy which affected the Indian operations, but at that time, Daewoo motors India limited was the company that invested the maximum amount in settling up a full fledged integrated manufacturing facility in the country, as well as one of the early MNC's to enter the market after the policy of librelization in late 1991.
During their shortlived innings, they gave India many firsts, namely:
  1. First automobile with MPFI engine technology (the E220 W124 was launched after the cielo).
  2. First mass producton car with an optional driver airbag and a 6 CD changer plus tilt steering (cielo GLX)
  3. First regular production car with a 3 speed automatic transmission
  4. First "true luxury car" for upper class packed with features.
  5. First application of cab forward design (matiz)
  6. First production car ever to sport reverse parking sensors (final edtion matiz, 2001)
Along with this, they were eary adopters of 16V DOHC technology gasoline engine (second after ford escort 1.6 zetec) and after the santro, matiz was only the second compact car to get fuel injected technology. Debatable or not, daewoo cars were loved by owners in general (maybe not those who cried hue about the pathetic mileage of the cielo 1.5), especially the matiz, and at that time the company's after sales quality was also steller. Though their marketing left much to be desired, often involved in Korean wars with Hyundai and sometimes maruti, the investment that they did make showed a lot of comitment to the Indian market.

The factory houses a full fledged press shop, paint shop, engine shop and final assembly line. Located around a vast area, we were taken around in electric scooters (more on that later) and since there were security issues and restrictions, we were only allowed to click selective pics.

But, still, every pic is a story in itself.

Let me once again take this opportunity to thank a special friend of mine who took pains to get this organised. How did it happen, obviously I cannot disclose it. But the pics that you see are the freshest ever, anywhere, clicked just a few hours back.

Last edited by sidindica : 6th April 2012 at 10:20.
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Old 5th April 2012, 18:17   #2
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Default Re: Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a chronicle in pictures

The engine components room

The engine and transaxle assembly line is 1.5 kms inside from the main entry gate. Its a huge unit where daewoo invested thousands of crores of rupees in tooling, machinery and components. Once entered, towards the left side, lies this section where individual components/ engine pats and a couple of engines were displayed. Even after 12 years, their condition is still pristine. About 15-20 people are employed in its maintenance department. This room has components for the Cielo 1.5 MT, 1.6 3 speed AT and Nexia 1.5 DOHC MT engines. I tried searching something for the matiz but couldn't find any.

The nexia engine. A combination of aluminum head and cast iron block. 1498 cc, 92 PS 16V DOHC.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-7.jpg

The transaxle of the same engine.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-8.jpg

Another view angle of the same engine.
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Daewoo branding on the transaxle.
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These components belong to the Cielo 1.5 SOHC 80 PS engine.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-11.jpg

Some more components.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-12.jpg

The cylinder head, crankshafts and connecting rods of cielo's engine.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-13.jpg

Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-14.jpg

A pic of an employee inspecting the transaxle for quality.
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Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-16.jpg

Another pic of another employee inspecting the crankshafts.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-17.jpg

Cylinder block and cylinder head of Cielo's 1.6 SOHC 3 speed AT engine.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-18.jpg

The process workflow of how to assemble an engine and driveshaft using a combination of parts sourced from Indian vendors and Daewoo Korea (knocked down kits).
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-19.jpg

Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-20.jpg

The timeline of operations at engine and transaxle shop.
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Cylinder head and some more components of the cielo's engine.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-22.jpg

Various other engine parts.
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A cutaway of the nexia 1.5 DOHC engine.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-24.jpg

Mated to the driveshaft.
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Cylinder block of the Cielo 1.6 AT engine
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-26.jpg

Last edited by sidindica : 5th April 2012 at 21:35.
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Old 5th April 2012, 18:24   #3
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Default Re: Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a chronicle in pictures

The engine components room-some more pics

A closer view of the Cielo 1.6 AT cylinder block.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-27.jpg

Gear components and a pic of the Cielo.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-28.jpg

Crankshaft, bearing cap, camshaft and connecting rod.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-29.jpg

May its soul rest in peace.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-30.jpg

A pic of the lanos that daewoo was frantically planning to launch in 2000 in the ikon, accent segment. This was to be positioned below the cielo.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-31.jpg

A pic of the 1999 Nubira. When the Indian operations received negative publicity, this was another car that daewoo was planning to launch. A roadshow in different cities was conducted and a facelifted model of this car was showcasd in 2001. That model never came, but its next generation surely was launched. Remember the old chevrolet optra?
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-32.jpg

The D segment car from daewoo, the leganza which was never considered for launch.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-33.jpg

Daewoo's big ticket volumes car, the matiz at the time of launch. Sold in decent numbers before dying a slow death.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-34.jpg

Cielo 1.5 MT engine block.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-36.jpg

Cielo 1.6 AT engine block.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-37.jpg

Last edited by sidindica : 5th April 2012 at 21:52.
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Old 5th April 2012, 22:05   #4
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Default Re: Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a chronicle in pictures

The engine and transaxle shop

Now this is where the real excitement begins. Every machine, every tooling is in great working condition. This plant is H-U-G-E. Around 15 people are employed who take care of the entire machinery and generators which supply power to run its machines. No, the assembly line is no longer running, but given an opportunity and some amount of money pumped in, they will run just as smooth as they used to a decade ago.

This particular assembly line made nexia engines. Components were sourced from both Korea and India and final engines were made for both domestic consumption as well as export. The domestic version was a 1.5 with 92 PS, the engines that you see here are export oriented 1.6 units with 110 PS. we were litrelly shocked by what we found. Its a dream of any petrolhead....brand new packed engines, in pristine condition, even after a decade. With all the fluids, they can still be started....but that day never came...will it come ever?

It's anybody's guess....each and every picture shows a dark side of an abrupt halt of operations, not with a bang, but with a slow, gradual whimper...

One of the machines used to run the assembly line.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-2.jpg

Some more machinery...pictures don't do justice. The area is humongous.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-3.jpg

Some rusting is there, but they run just as fine. Only time will tell when this place will brim with activity ever again..
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-4.jpg

A closer look...the plant had an installed capacity of 100000 engines per annum.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-5.jpg

Machines used to assemble engines starting from cylinder block.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-6.jpg

Thousands of brand new cylinder blocks still lie unused....
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-38.jpg

...and many more. Packed, forgotten....
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-39.jpg

The stock is humongous.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-40.jpg

A part imported from Korea.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-41.jpg

The sticker tells the whole story. this container had pistons made in Korea for the nexia engines.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-42.jpg

More piston boxes lying unused.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-43.jpg

Thousands of crankshafts lie unused.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-44.jpg

A closer look of the brand new unused crankshafts. even after a decade, they just look as good as new.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-45.jpg

The transaxles, packed seperately. bulkloads present.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-46.jpg

A closer view of the transaxle. Notice the daewoo logo. Quite a sad sight...
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-47.jpg

And theres some more.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-48.jpg

And many more driveshafts were also packed.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-49.jpg

A closer look at one of them. Still looks as good as brand new even after a decade.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-50.jpg

First look at the complete engine after assembly. They appear just brand new, fresh out of the oven.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-51.jpg

Another nexia 1.6 DOHC 110 ps engine. Notice the compact lightweight construction.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-52.jpg

Last edited by sidindica : 5th April 2012 at 22:41.
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Old 5th April 2012, 22:48   #5
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The engine and transaxle shop-part 2

Like I said earlier, words fail to describe the scene here. Walk around and you feel as if nothing has happened...its just like an automotive art museum...but instead of a museum, all that lies is remains of a company that became a victim of its own practices. the pictures describe the whle truth...never before seen anywhere, but now, feast your eyes. Not tens, not hundreds but thousands of engines lie packed and unused.

Just appearing as fresh as a daisy, waiting to be cranked, awaiting that
light of the day when someone may save them somehow in some form...

The 1.6 DOHC nexia engine.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-53.jpg

Some more engines lying unused..
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-54.jpg

and some more. Sights like these can bring tears to the eyes of any petrol head, even though it was not considered as one of the best gasoline engines around.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-55.jpg

Engines still lie packed....
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-56.jpg

And some more.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-57.jpg

Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-58.jpg

The picture says it all. Like a friend of mine quotes " each part of the plant cries to meet the other and become a car!".
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-59.jpg

This is the final engine assembly line, lying idle.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-60.jpg

A close up pic of the same..
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-61.jpg

And another shot from another angle. it stil appears to be in top notch condition, thanks to the untiring efforts of the maintenance personnel.
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The plant now belongs to someone else, but the original name is still very much present.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-66.jpg

Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-67.jpg

In this area, parts were categorised and chosen accordingly to classification needed.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-68.jpg

The engine testing line.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-69.jpg

Far view of the quality control team area which used to test engines randomly.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-70.jpg

Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-71.jpg

Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-72.jpg

A bigger view of the same. The amount invested by daewoo in its engine plant was humongous. The engine line was told to be flexible.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-73.jpg

Last edited by sidindica : 5th April 2012 at 23:14.
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Old 5th April 2012, 23:32   #6
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The cylinder Block Assembly line

One of the best and tecnically modern lines was set up by dewoo in 1997 when the plant was into operations. Picture this.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-74.jpg

Another angle of the same pic.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-75.jpg

Thousands of packed engines and other components imported from korea still lie here.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-76.jpg

The connecting rods line.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-77.jpg

Many of the engine blocks lying unused.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-78.jpg

Last edited by sidindica : 5th April 2012 at 23:40.
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Old 5th April 2012, 23:42   #7
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The press shop and matiz graveyard

Both the matiz and Cielo/ Nexia's body was completely manufactured in the press shop, about half a km east to the engine shop. The pics still show steel for the panels lying idle. Most of the uncut raw material belonged to the matiz and have began to rust after years of negligence. Outside the shop, many of the matiz cars with stripped off mechanicals lie ignored gathering a pile of dust. What will be done to them, is anyone's guess....even the maintenance personel have no idea about it.

The matiz steel coils.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-79.jpg

The body-in-white of a matiz, lying ignored.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-80.jpg

he press shop is huge inside. This particular matiz shows the cutaway of its inner safety panels.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-81.jpg

Few matiz bodyshells lying as it is, outside.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-82.jpg

Same here, notice to the right side near the warehouse and you will find more side panels. The once loved car is now history.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-83.jpg

Last edited by sidindica : 6th April 2012 at 09:55.
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Old 6th April 2012, 09:58   #8
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Fast forward

The once bristling surajpur factory is almost like a ghosttown, comments Forbes in its one time article in late 2010. Today, yes its still part ghost town, but theres some good news:
Opposite to press shop, the company has set up a new assembly line which now manufactures electric scooters and soon they will also start manufacturing three wheelers under the argentum brand. I couldn't get any further information on whats int he pipeline but contract spare part manufacturing is surely in the cards. In fact, the same has commenced albiet silently.

We wish good luck to argentum motors and their future plans to infuse some life into the once start of the plant and someday, the plant sould start bristling with activities once again.

Maybe its the end of the daewoes, after all...


Test prototype of the Indian matiz.
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Matiz cars during their launch in late 1998. Pic sourced from an unknown website long ago.
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The new electric three wheeler panels. To be assembled soon.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-86.jpg

The new product rolling out: Argentum branded electric scooters. Looks almost like a normal scooter with great fit and finish.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-87.jpg

As we leave the gate, we take this last and final pic. That of the daewoo espero.
Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures-img-1.jpg

--THE END--

Last edited by sidindica : 6th April 2012 at 10:14.
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Old 6th April 2012, 11:58   #9
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Default Re: Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a chronicle in pictures

Moderator's note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Indian Car Scene. Thanks for Sharing!
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Old 6th April 2012, 12:17   #10
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Default Re: Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a chronicle in pictures

Looks like a missed opportunity.

Mitsubishi could have moved operations to this place
Peugeout could have started up from here

So many options.

It will take some cash to re-comission those machines and also to dispose of the now obsolete inventory
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Old 6th April 2012, 13:19   #11
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It really pains to see the factory in such a state. Spare a moment to think what the employees and other people dependent on the factory would have had to go thru' when the productions lines were shut.

Thanks so much sindica for sharing this invaluable report along with some heart moving pictures.

Anyways glad that the company has now been brought out from the brink and back on track registering excellent growth!

Any info that you can share on why the stocks have not yet been liquidated?

Last edited by Warwithwheels : 6th April 2012 at 13:21.
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Old 6th April 2012, 13:20   #12
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Default Re: Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures

Great narration, pictures and report sidindica :-)
Yeah, a colossal loss. GM India really had to take this plant up solving whatever issues, since all the products they launched would have fit - Spark, Aveo, UVA, Optra. And they could have become #2 or #3 in the car industry if they had moved then.

Good if the place finally gets put to some productive use...
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Old 6th April 2012, 13:22   #13
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Default Re: Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures

Phenomenal job, Sid. Suddenly brought a flood of memories of our old Cielo. The color was Canterbury Green. It turned heads everywhere back in the day. And after the Maruti Omni, it was a huge change for the family to travel in a 'luxury' car.
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Old 6th April 2012, 13:37   #14
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Super super thread. 5 Star rating from me.

I really felt sad looking at those pictures. I cannot even imagine how you must have felt there. And believe me when I say, after reading through this thread, I could not eat my lunch properly, something just did not feel right.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think the facility could be put to good use for contract manufacturing.
Something on the lines of Magna Steyr (Click here for more info). This company contract manufactures the Aston Martin Rapide, Mercedes SLS AMG's body shell, etc.
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Old 6th April 2012, 13:58   #15
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Default Re: Visit to Daewoo Motors (Argentum) plant, Surajpur, UP: a Chronicle in Pictures

What a sad state of affairs - it pains to see such a wonderful plant lying idle. And the cars - each one of them could have been a winner in our market. Matiz in the form of Spark still sells in India.
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