General Motors aims big for India; plans 7-8 new models

Pune – Car maker General Motors India is planning to launch up to eight new models over the next 5-6 years in the country as it looks to increase its share in the domestic auto market.

The company is also considering to double the existing production capacity of the Talegaon plant in Maharashtra in order to roll out and meet the demand of its new models.

Besides, GM India is under discussion with parent General Motors’ operations in other countries to export small diesel engines from here.

“Lots of new models are coming up for the Indian market. We are discussing about 7-8 models over the next 5-6 years,” General Motors (GM) India Vice President (Manufacturing) Rakesh Mohan Sabbarwal told PTI here.

He, however, declined to share details such as whether these will be small cars or sedans or sports utility vehicles.

When asked about the company’s production plans, Sabbarwal said: “We are currently in discussion for ramping up the capacity. In the second phase of expansion, the capacity of the Talegaon plant can be doubled, but nothing has been decided yet.”

The 300-acre Talegaon plant currently has an installed production capacity of 1.4 lakh units, while the Halol unit in Gujarat can roll out 85,000 units every year.

General Motors’s Indian arm will be launching three cars by the end of this year.

The hatchback version of the Sail U-VA will be introduced by the end of this month or early November, to be followed by the sedan later in December. The multi-purpose vehicle Enjoy will be launched by the end of this year.

On export of engines, Sabbarwal said: “We have received requests from some of GM’s operations in other countries to supply powertrains from here… We are under discussion.”

GM India has received requests to supply 1.0 litre and 1.3 litre diesel engines, which are currently manufactured at the Talegaon plant, he added.

The engine plant, which was set up at an investment of USD 230 million, has an initial capacity to produce 1.6 lakh units annually.

Besides, the company also sources components from India for its overseas operations and has awarded contracts worth USD 500 million. It plans increase the sourcing of components to USD 1 billion from India in the next two years.

Yesterday, General Motors India President and MD Lowell C Paddock had said the company is pinning hopes on the Sail from the stable of its Chinese partner, SAIC, to expand volumes in India and expects it to be its best selling model in the country.

At present, the company’s compact car Beat is its best selling model in India and has clocked 4,539 units in September this year.

Earlier in this year, Paddock had said the company was targeting to take its market share in India to double digits from the current single digit, although he did not provide a time line for it.

In 2011, GM India had sold 1,11,510 units against 1,10,804 units in 2010. As per Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) domestic passenger car sales stood at 19,46,373 units in 2011.

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