General Motors India to launch 6 new cars in the next 2 years

GM India has announced 6 new car launches in the next 2 years. The company will invest Rs. 450 crore to increase the production capacity at its Halol plant in Gujarat, which currently dishes out the Aveo, Optra, Cruze and multi-utility vehicle Tavera from Chevrolet’s stable.

General Motors India President and Managing Director Karl Slym said, “In the next 24 months, we will launch six mew models of passenger cars and 14 new versions of existing models.” GM will also foray into the commercial vehicles segment and 3 models have been lined up, which will be rolled out from the Halol plant.

GM India is “investing $100 million in the next 12 months” to increase the capacity of the plant to 1,05,000 units annually from the current level of 85,000 units per year. GM India had earlier hinted that by the end of 2012, the company will launch five vehicles from SAIC in India out of which, three of them will be light commercial vehicles (LCV) and two will be passenger vehicles. Slym had said that SAIC vehicles to be launched in India were expected to have a localization of 90%, as the company will produce the engines from its Talegaon plant.

chevrolet sail might be coming to india photo
Photo: Chevrolet sail might be coming to India.

GM-SAIC, a 50:50 joint-venture, already announced that it would launch small trucks in India. In the interest of costs and quality GM is ensuring that all the vehicles to be sold in India will be assembled locally only. The first LCV from GM India can be expected to be launched in 2011 end and other models will be launched later. Sources say that GM will launch a passenger van first which will compete with Maruti Eeco, Tata Ace Magic and Tata Venture.

The China-based Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) has picked up a 50 percent stake in GM India. So the chances of GM India re-badging an SAIC car model and selling it under the Chevrolet brand in India are good. There is speculation GM India could launch the Chevrolet Sail sedan which is currently sold as an entry saloon in China.

Taking the Chevrolet brand to customers in tier II and tier III cities of India is going to be the focus at the moment for the company, in order to increase its market share. The Chevrolet Beat, Spark and Chevrolet Cruze have been doing reasonably well in the big metros.

At present, General Motors has quite a wide range of products in India. In the small car segment, Chevrolet Spark, Aveo U-VA and Beat are available. In the sedan segment, Chevrolet Aveo, Optra and Cruze are offered. GM provides Chevrolet Tavera in the MPV segment and Chevrolet Captiva in the premium SUV segment. Spark, Beat and Cruze are GM’s top sellers in India. Related: Chevrolet Optra vs. Honda City

The commercial vehicle segment leader Tata Motors has a strong line up starting from Tata Ace to its latest heavy vehicles, the Prima trucks. Ashok Leyland and Volvo Eicher are other brands which are strong competitors. Now, GM India is gearing up to take part in the lucrative commercial vehicle market with LCVs. Let us hope the domestic market; especially truck fleet owners will have more options to choose fuel efficient, safer commercial vehicles from all these manufacturers.