GM looks to export from India, launch second mini-car

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New Delhi, Mar 17 (UNI) Leading car maker General Motors today said it will look to make India its small car hub and export cars from the country once home demand is met, even as it plans a second mini-car for the country.

''We are very competitive in India. Manufacturing competitiveness is very good and manufacturing quality is at par with the rest of the world. Supply base competitiveness is a problem and once addressed we are certainly looking at exports. However, we are focussed on the domestic market at present,'' said GM Group Vice President and President GM Asia Pacific David N Reilly.

The company, which has been under pressure in the US market, expects the emerging markets like India, Russia, China and Brazil to offset any softening in demand in the North American Markets.

The key to spurring demand in the Indian market, the company feels, is in the small car segment. In the country, GM operates the Chevrolet Spark which is the lowest price car in the company's stable and along with Aveo U-VA account for a significant share of its sales. GM is now looking at a car cheaper than the Spark.

The car will not compete directly with Tata Motors Nano, but will be cheaper than GM's current lowest priced car in India.

''Around the world and especially in India there is a space for another small car. We are working on it and will take around two years to take a call on it. It is highly likely that the car will be first launched in India and will be under the Chevrolet Brand,'' Mr Reilly said.

The company's Bangalore R&D division is expected to play a significant role on the design of the small car.

The company also has ambitious plans for component sourcing which is at 300 million dollars at present and expect it to grow two-three times over the next three years.

Commercial production at the GM's second plant in India at Talegaon in Maharashtra is likely to begin in August. The trial production will start this week.

GM has invested more than 300 million dollars in Talegaon facility which will have an initial capacity of 1.4 lakh units.

The facility will have the option to be scaled up to 3,00,000 units, which will be the Phase II of expansion, said GM India President and Managing Director Karl Slym.

The company also intends to assemble the Chevrolet Captiva in the country. Presently, the Captiva is sold in the country as a CBU.

''We are selling enough volumes of Captiva for a case to be made for assembling it here. We will do it either from the Halol or the Talegoan plant,'' Mr Slym said.

The company targets to sell 2,00,000 units in 2010 and expects that more than half of it will come from small cars. The company presently holds three per cent market share in the country.

GM's Wooling Motors venture in China has been turning out 2,500 dollar mini-vans and other small commercial vehicles for several years now and Mr Reilly said study was on to see whether production and assembly could be done in India.

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