Daewoo Matiz-some unknown facts

Containing Trivia relating to Automotive World from Brass Era to Present.

Daewoo Matiz-some unknown facts

Postby ESSEESSE » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:12 pm

Italdesign cinquicento lucciola to daewoo Matiz.
From a rejected italian design by an Italian to a Korean global sensation.

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The daewoo matiz is perhaps the most shortlived nameplate ever, in the Indian small car history with its innings not even lasting 3.5 years (production began in September 1998 and ended in march 2002). One interesting but often lesser known story lies that daewoo never made much effort in its design because they accepted, what was in actual, a rejected 1993 concept car that was designed by the car designer of the century, Guigiaro himself. Fiat had approached Guigiaro for a replacement model of the cinquicento (italian for 500) and looking at the concept, Fiat outrightly rejected it as it deemed to be too radical and confusing. Later, the same man himself was responsible for the globally acclaimed design of the original 2005-10 (2009-present in India) Fiat Grande Punto.

When Daewoo was developing the matiz, the timing couldn't have been sooner. In mid 90s, the korean economy was in declining stage and Daewoo was expanding rapidly, most of the funds coming from many banks and creditors which gave loans to Daewoo corporation to expand their business and they needed a car which can catapult the then fledgling carmaker to a global level.
The smallest car they had was the Tico, which used an engine that has roots to the F8B engine of the alto/ alto 800. In fact, the block used by the tico was the same and suzuki laid its expertise in refinement. The matiz engine used the same cylinder block but was a heavily reworked version of the tico engine. And heavy means, 90 percent of the parts were new or redesigned.

Daewoo was immediately impressed with the design proposal sent by guigiaro and gave their approval after the first half hearted attempt at a concept version (the pig shaped matiz) was received as negative in press. Final alterations to the cab forward design resulted in the D'Arts concept being showcased in December 1997 in Korea and after 4 months, april 1998 saw the launch of the matiz in South korea, with production to be started at Bupyong plant for domestic production as well as exports to Europe. Indian production was stated to be started in Surajpur. In fact, India was simultaneously a part of the global launch plan because Daewoo India's future was in stake as sales of its cielo crashed badly, even though the 1.29 lakh price cut announced at auto expo 98 did not do any wonders. It was delayed to november because the company was struggling to meet the costing owing to its low level of localisation. In fact, till its end of production, critical engine components continued to be imported. In my visit to the abandoned plant in 2012, components still lie packed in containers with the import sticker intact of Daewoo Korea.
The car's launch, however was a disaster. It was poorly equipped, more costly than its prime rival (santro) and only launched in one variant-SE, the pics of which were posted below. Some corrections and variant rejigging came in april 1999 when the santro was a success and daewoo was struggling to even meet 20% of its initial projected sales targets. Often involving in rivalry with Hyundai and later, maruti, the car never got the marketing it had deserved to be and it never sold as well as, say a santro or zen for that matter. I think daewoo did manage to sell more than a lakh units in India till daewoo went bust and shutdown its plant for good.
The product was not bad per se, but it had flaws like poor performance with AC on and a somewhat choppy ride. But it delivered where it mattered. In fact, though it was only second to santro when it came to launching a small car with fuel injected technology, it brought in many firsts in the Indian auto/ small car industry.

-First application of cab forward design in India, this design merged the bonnet and windscreen angles to look like extensions of each other, the windscreen was pushed forward and dash moved ahead, to liberate unheard of passenger legroom and shoulder room. Its 4 wheels were tucked into corners to liberate maximum longitudnal space for 4 people and once inside, the car was a master in packaging. The 104 litre boot was very small, though.

-First small car/ hatchback with polycarbonate clear glass headlamps. They were difficult to break. Only a very hard hit can break them apart.

-First hatchback/ small car with euro NCAP crash tested bodyshell having a 3 stage bumper, front and rear. Impact proof till 5 kmph, and was equipped with a solid bumper rail to prevent the bumper from damaging the front offset side. Strange but true, the quality of plastic used by daewoo for a Kei-sized hatch for the bumper was one of the strongest in the industry compared to the old santro and marutis.

-First hatchback with dash panel cross bar crash tested by euro NCAP. Though the euro spec matiz achieved only 3.5 stars in euro NCAP, the same standard was applied in building the Indian matiz. It featured a reinforcement bar under the dash to prevent the engine from intruding the passenger compartment under normal crashes.

-First hatchback with a plastic intake manifold-made the engine more refined (for a 3 cylinder) and durable and was environment friendly as well.

-First hatchback with speed sensitive hydraulic power steering. Daewoo never advertised this feature until the wagon R and zen came up with their VXI equipped EPS versions. The matiz had a steering which was speed sensitive and the assistance varied based on the vehicle speed. In short, this was one hatchback which laid greater emphasis on safety over anything else.

-First hatchback/ first car sold in India with factory fitted reverse parking sensors (final edition matiz, late 2001-mid 2002).

-First hatchback with jointless outer side body panels. Unlike today's concept of child parts, the body panels of this car were not welded on the outside but were integrated with the monocoque, esp the door pillars and part of quarterpanel. This made the car more sturdy and secure. Its roof had 3 reinforcement bars, for maximum safety in its class.

-Last but not the least, it was very environmentally friendly. Without the need to modify the cat-con, the M-Tec engine was easily meeting euro 2 norms and was euro 3 ready. In fact, media also ranked the matiz as the most environment friendly car in the lower B segment (in its class).

-Also, it was the first to offer a 2+2=4 years unlimited mileage warranty at a time when manufactuerers were only offering 18+18 months or 2+1 years.
-it was the first car to introduce jazzy paint shades (yes, we know the zen had yellow and grass green) like fluorescent (golf green), lavender (whispering violet), orange (copper orange), golden yellow, leaf green and countless others. Further, it was one of the best riding cars in its class and also handled like a go cart (zen purists wont agree with me though but its PS was brilliant).

All in all, this car died not with a bang, but with a slow, gradual whimper. We had owned one from 2000-2006 for 7 years and 1,73,000 km. Top end, SP model without roof rail (we added later) and it had a modified engine tuning with bigger intake manifold, intake valves, increased compression ratio (9.3:1) and better 0-100 timings. Not a road rocket, but between the gears, it was one of the best in its class. It costed 4.6 lakhs on road Delhi and came equipped with a casette player with 4 speakers, front power windows, power steering, central locking, RR wiper/ defogger etc, soft touch moulded door trims and dash etc. Also at a later stage the company offered carbon fibre look IP finish in the SA and SA 2002 models.
Today, we have two variations of the matiz on sale. The spark and the beat (matiz creative). Both have their own identities, but they can never match the design, quality and above all, the personality that the original matiz had.

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Globally, though the matiz did its duty on what it was supposed to do. In 3 years of its launch, it sold more than 800,000 units worldwide where it was put on sale.
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Re: Daewoo Matiz-some unknown facts

Postby jskandhari » Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:43 pm

Matiz even one of my Uncles owned it, Silver and I remember they sold in good numbers in its own time period. When Cielo ( in response to MSIL Esteem ) was making news with the power windows and other features which were First and Opel came with Astra ( sunroof which leaked ).

Have seen Matiz accident on NH1 on my way to Delhi from Chandigarh but the Driver was to be blamed for his rash driving that too in monsoon rains. Spark/Beat is 2nd Gen and 3rd Gen of Matiz only, While the Optra/Cruze are of Nebula ( Cielo ). Segments Chev carry forwarded after acquiring DW ( Car Division ).
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