GM eyes 10% of the auto sector by 2010

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New Delhi, Jan 9 (UNI) General Motors today said it aims to capture a 10 per cent share by 2010 in the growing automobile sector of the country and said its sales may rise by 50 per cent this year, as the demand surges further.

''We are eyeing a 10 per cent market share by 2010 to become the country's fourth largest player, just next to Maruti Suzuki, Tata and Hyundai,'' company Vice President (Sales and Marketing) Ankush Arora told reporters here at the 9th Auto Expo.

He added that the company expects to grow at a rate of 40 per cent this year.

The world's largest automaker aims to sell 90,000 vehicles in the country. GM's vehicle sales had surged 68 per cent in 2007 to 60,032, according to a company statement.

The Detroit-based company is now eyeing emerging markets like China and India to expand its operations ans is spending more than 300 million dollars in the country to expand capacity and sell new models.

GM aims to increase its sales oultets up to 125 from the existing 98 stores across the country by the end of this year.

''We aim to scale up our number of outlets from 98 to 125 stores to be available in 90 cities by 2008-end,'' company President and Managing Director Karl Slym said.

At present, the company has its sales outlets in 69 cities.

He added that the company would also increase its sevice centres from 102 to 145 by the end of this year.

The company also launched its 'Chevrolet Captiva', priced at Rs 17.74 lakh, which will be a completely built unit. It expects to sell 1,000 Captiva SUVs this year, Mr Slym added.

The newly launched Captiva comes with a 2.0 litre in-line four cylinder, single overhead cam 16-valve diesel engine. The engine produces 150 PS of peak power at 4,000 rpm and 320 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm.

GM is also setting up a second car factory in Talegaon, Maharashtra with a capacity of 1,40,000 units a year, more than doubling its production in the country. It is expected to be operational by the last week of August this year and will manufacture small cars only, company Director and Vice President (Corporate Affairs) P Balendran said.

''In the next couple of months, we will announce the size of the engine to be produced in the second plant,'' Mr Balendran added.

GM is also considering setting up its first local engine plant, Mr Slym said adding, that it would help in reducing the cost of importing engines from overseas, which makes its cars pricier than the locally assembled models of Suzuki and Hyundai.

It would help the country become an export hub for small cars, he said.

The government currently imposes an import duty of as much as 80 per cent on engines from abroad. GM currently imports engines for all its models in the country, except Chevrolet Tavera.

General Motors India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors Corporation, manufactures Chevrolet Optra Magmum, Aveo, SRV, Aveo U-VA, Spark and Tavera at Halol in Gujarat.

''We are going to increase the production of Spark from the current 2,000-2,500 units to 5,000 units a month produced in the Halol plant,'' Mr Arora said.

The company had 3.7 per cent of the country's car market between April and November, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) figures. It had 8.9 per cent of India's market for utility vehicles.

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