GM to start trial prodn of new plant next week

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Mumbai, Mar 12: General Motors India will start trial production in its new plant in Talegaon next week and is confident of achieving the sales target of 200,000 by 2010, by which time export of components from India will cross One Billion USD.

The second plant coming up near Pune at a cost of USD 300 million is all set for production and commercial manufacture, which would commence in the last quarter of 2008, GM India President and Managing Director Karl Slym told newsmen here at the launch of the fifth anniversary celebrations of Chevrolet in India. The Company's first plant in Halol, Gujarat was bursting to its capacity of 85,000 vehicles a year, Mr Slym said.

Stating that the Company was planning launch of more small cars in India apart from its two models Aveo U-Va and Spark, he said that the Company would not attempt to match the price of Tatas small car Nano as it had to keep the status of Chevrolet in mind. ''We deliver to a different segment of customers'' he added.

The Company was also at the finalisation stage of setting up a powertrain unit in India at a cost of USD 200 million, he added.

Buoyed by the success of the year's first launch Captiva, which had overshot the year's target and was expected to sell over 1200 vehicles this year, Mr Slym said that GM India hoped to start exporting cars once the Talegaon unit went on stream.

''Currently production is overstretched to meet the domestic requirements,'' he said, stating that once the second unit commences production, there would be exportable surplus.
Mr Slym said that the company also aimed to take the total number of engineers and designers at its Research Centre in Bangalore to 2000 in a couple of years from the current strength of 1148. He expressed confidence that once the Centre got to the level of other global R and D centres of GM it could come out with its own designed cars.

The Bangalore centre was involved in the future cars looking to over the next decade, he added.

On exporting of auto components to other GM plants in the world he said since 1996, GM had made India a sourcing centre and last year the value of exports was around 300 M USD. By 2010 this figure would cross one billion USD, he said adding that much depended on the economic situation of the country. GM had enhanced its sourcing from India inview of the maturity of the auto component segment and the Company would increase the number of components.

He said plans were also afoot to increse the capaity of the new Talegaon plant to 300,000 in the second phase.

He said that GM grew by 74 per cent in India in 2007 against the Industry average of 14 per cent. The company which had a share of 3.3 per cent in the car industry in the country aimed to increase it to ten per cent by 2010. ''We would continue to maintain the same growth rate over the next few years'' he added.

Celebrating the fifth anniversary, the company launched a new campaign ''cashless ownership offer'' through the hands of its brand ambassador actor Saif Ali Khan. the offer was a unique zero-ownership offer that would take care of labour cost, parts for all services, maintenance and running repairs for a period of three years or 45,000 km whichever occurs earlier. This allowed customers to enjoy free motoring for a period of three years, he said.

Mr Slym said, true to GM's vision Chevrolet had quickly become amongst the most admired and preferred automotive brands in India.

UNI

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