Companies

GM India reduces growth target to 30% in 2011

Roudra Bhattacharya Mumbai | Updated on February 11, 2011

Mr. Karl Slym, President & MD. General Motors India Launch Chevrolet Beat LPG and Introdues Smartech Engine in Mumbai. - Photo: Paul Noronha   -  Business Line

After witnessing a 60 per cent spurt in sales last year, General Motors (GM) India has set a more modest growth target for 2011, at up to 30 per cent. The lower estimate is because of the higher base of last year and fewer fresh launches planned for this year.

With most new products slated to be introduced only in early-2012, this year will largely see launch of new fuel variants of existing Chevrolet models, like a diesel-powered Beat hatchback, besides refreshed models of the Captiva SUV and Tavera.

“Last year had been very good for us because of good sales of new launches like the Beat, Cruze and also the Captiva and Spark doing well. We expect to double the industry growth this year at 25-30 per cent. We will launch a new Captiva besides a BS IV version of the Tavera,” Mr Karl Slym, President and Managing Director, GM India, told Business Line.

Consolidating operations

GM India, in which Chinese partner SAIC shares an equal stake, aims to use this year for consolidating its fast growing operations. This includes expansion of its dealer network as it gears up to launch at least six new products with 14 fuel variants next year, besides setting up a global hub for light commercial vehicles at Halol and expanding engine and car production at Talegaon.

“We could also look to export about 10 per cent of the production from the new engine plant, as it's the only plant globally for us that makes such engines. For our CVs, we would look at India-like export markets in the Asia-Pacific region and South America,” Mr Slym said adding that a new press shop would be added to the Halol facility as part of the Rs 700-crore investment allocations.

R&D Centre

With plans to rapidly expand its domestic product development capacity, GM is adding around 400 employees this year to its existing staff of 2,000 at its Bangalore-based technical centre. Integrated with GM's global R&D efforts, this division had until now mostly been assisting in the development of global products. However, higher emphasis is now being placed on developing products for the domestic market.

“We are expanding the capabilities at our technical centre by adding vehicle architecture development capability by 2012-13. We've also recently leased a new building where we will be housing our powertrain research facility. We aim to add 20 per cent more workforce every year,” said Mr Slym.

GM launched on Friday the Chevrolet Beat LPG at Rs 4.10 lakh (LS) and Rs 4.53 lakh (LT) in Maharashtra (ex-showroom). The first product to use the locally developed and manufactured 1.2 litre ‘Smartech' engine, the Beat variant can operate on both LPG and petrol. The engine generates 80 PS of power and delivers fuel efficiency of 13.29 kmpl. On LPG, it has a full tank range of 349 km, while a combination of both fuels can extend this to 1,000 km.

> roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on February 11, 2011

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