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GM to expand Halol plant capacity

By Staff
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Chennai, Mar 24 (UNI) General Motors India, a wholly-owned subsidary of the world's largest car makor GM Corporation, will expand the capacity of its Halol plant in Gujarat involving an outlay of Rs 100 crore to reach a production capacity of 85,000 cars.

Stating this at a press conference to announce the launch of the new 'Chevrolet Aveo,' here today, Vice President Corporate Affairs P Balendran said the plant currently had a capacity to produce 60,000 to 65,000 cars.

On whether it proposed to set up a second plant elsewhere, he said various options were being considered but it was too early to make any announcement.

So far, GM's investment was Rs 1,380 crore excluding the Rs 100 crore for expansion programme.

There were no plans to bring out a diesel variant of Aveo but work was on the diesel front, he said, adding that the CNG version of Optra would be ready in another three months time.

Mr Balendran said the Aveo was the first of three new products to make debut in the first six months of 2006. The new Sedan, built at Halol in Gujarat, was in the 'small car big design' segment.

Last year, GM India had sold over 30,000 cars, registering an 18 per cent growth and set this year's target as 50,000. Of this, the company expected to sell 20,000 Tavera models and an equal number of Aveos were expected to be sold, helping the company gain a ten per cent market share in the segment in the first nine months itself.

The Chennai ex-showroom price of 1.4 E Aveo was Rs 5.67 lakh in the Ford Fiesta and Honda City slab, offering a mileage of 13 to 14 km. The 1.6 LT model, priced Rs 6.98 lakh, gave a mileage of around 13 km, Marketing and Sales Vice President Ankush Arora claimed.

He said Aveo was a re-engineered car to suit Indian roads. The dealership network was being expanded from the current 77 sales points to 110 sales point. Also, two new parts distribution centres were being set up this year in Maharashtra and Delhi to supplement the two existing centres in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

To a query, Mr Balendran said the company had stopped producing Corsa, which was launched in 1999.

Highlighting the features of Aveo which included an enlarged wheelbase, body height increase in the interior space, Mr Arora said to reduce the price of key components, extensive localisation in the products was being undertaken. The company intended to bring the localisation content to 50 per cent this year.

The bulk of the sales came from north accounting for 38 to 40 per cent of the total sales, while 34 to 35 per cent came from west.

The south contributed 25 to 26 per cent of the total sale, he said.

UNI HV VV 1435

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