GM India planning small car to take on Alto

GM (General Motors) India is mulling over a small car to be positioned below Chevrolet Spark in its product portfolio. GM will join hands with SAIC, China (which holds 50% stake in GM India) in developing the small car which will lock horns with Maruti Suzuki Alto, the world’s largest selling car (based on 2010 sales).

Currently, GM India’s entry-level small car, Chevrolet Spark, is priced between Rs. 3.23 lakh and Rs. 4.24 lakh (ex-showroom) while Maruti Alto’s price ranges from Rs. 2.31 lakh to Rs. 3.27 lakh. Clearly, the Spark is no competition to the Alto, at least, as far as pricing is considered. Related: Maruti Alto K10 review

GM’s President, International Operations, Tim Lee reportedly said, “We are looking at having products strategically across segments to boost sales in the Indian market. We working closely with SAIC and looking at opportunities to introduce a product priced lower than the Spark in future.” He added that India and other emerging markets are important for GM and their IPO’s (Initial Public Offering, of GM shares) focus will be on leveraging these growth markets.

Meanwhile, Maruti has plans of launching another small car by 2012 that will be positioned alongside the Alto. Read our story on Maruti’s made in India car. Hyundai, too, has been caught testing its small car HA in Chennai recently.

GM’s India plans

GM is targeting to sell 3 lakh cars in India by 2013. The company sold 1,10,804 vehicles in 2010 constituting just 5% of the market share in the country. GM India have already announced that it will launch 6 new cars in association with SAIC over the next two years. Among the 6 upcoming models, 2 will be light commercial vehicles while the remaining 4 can be an SUV, sedan and two hatchbacks.

GM India launched a new 1.2-litre SMARTECH engine developed by the company’s Bangalore-based technical centre in cooperation with GM’s new engine plant in Talegaon. The new engine will be manufactured at its Talegaon plant and will be used in the new Chevrolet Beat. The SMARTECH engine’s usage will help GM to optimize the costs and enable the company to price products competitively. The company will also introduce a diesel variant of the Chevrolet Beat soon.

General Motors India sells eight car models, namely the Spark, Beat and Aveo U-VA hatchbacks, the Optra, Cruze and Aveo sedans, the Captiva sport-utility vehicle and multi-purpose vehicle Tavera under its Chevrolet brand.