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Daimler, Proton tap Argentum

New Delhi, May 6: Germany’s Daimler Motors and Malaysia’s Proton Holdings are in talks with Delhi-based Argentum Motors to explore the scope for contract manufacturing of truck engines and cars.

Argentum’s plant is at Surajpur, near Delhi. The plant previously belonged to Daewoo.

Sources said the two firms were holding talks with Argentum. The Surajpur unit can manufacture cars, buses and trucks.

Sources said Daimler had sent a prototype engine to the plant for assembling. It wanted see whether Argentum would be able to manufacture the engine. However, talks have not progressed as Argentum wants more orders than what Daimler is willing to commit at this stage.

Daimler has already signed a deal to jointly manufacture trucks with the Hero group. Under the deal, the two will initially manufacture light and medium commercial vehicles. By 2012, the joint venture will manufacture heavy duty vehicles.

Hero-Daimler’s truck will have a localisation content of 80 per cent. The joint venture will have an annual capacity of 70,000 units.

At present, Daimler India imports Actros trucks in completely knocked down form and assembles them in Ludhiana.

The country’s commercial vehicle market is estimated at Rs 30,000 crore.

According to sources, the Malaysian state-owned car company may consider manufacturing the Proton Saga and the Proton Persona here.

Initially Proton may bring in completely knocked down kits to be assembled locally. Later it may source components from local vendors.

The second generation Proton Saga is powered by a 1.3-litre Campro engine. It has an integrated air-fuel module, which varies the flow of air into the engine to improve efficiency. Proton is believed to be exploring opportunities in Asia, including China and Iran.

Argentum was set up by SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh and B.VR. Subbu, former president of Hyundai India.

Recently, French software company Dassault Systemes signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Argentum Engineering Design to offer power train solutions to automotive firms in India.

Under the MoU, Dassault Systemes will licence its 3D design and product lifestyle management software to Argentum Engineering Design.

The software, built on the computer-aided design (CAD) concept, provides a 3D vision of the lifecycle of a product from conception to maintenance and recycling. “We are defining the next level of solutions in which the media of communication will be 3D. This will enable testing a car’s ergonomics before it is built,” Christian Nardin, president of Dassault Systemes Asia had said during the signing of the MoU.

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