Companies

GM to phase out Optra, Aveo, U-VA by September

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Mr Lowell C. Paddock, President and MD, General Motors India   -  THE HINDU

GM’s Chevrolet Aveo U-VA

Refreshed model range to boost lagging sales

General Motors (GM) will be phasing out the Optra, Aveo and U-VA models starting September. This is part of a plan to refresh most of its portfolio with new models, with a focus on diesel variants.

The US carmaker will launch the new ‘Sail’ both in hatchback and sedan form to replace the Aveo range by September. While a refreshed Spark compact will drive in by the third quarter, it will also launch a new MPV ‘Enjoy’ to compete with Maruti Suzuki’s Ertiga and the Toyota Innova, by end of the year.

“We want to get into segments where we have not been present before, and for all new models we are definitely looking at a diesel model. The 1.3-litre diesel co-developed with Fiat will debut with the Sail twins in India,” said Mr Lowell C. Paddock, President and Managing Director of GM India.

By creating some excitement in the market, a refreshed range is expected to boost lagging sales, which were down 24 per cent (13,978 units) between April and May this year.

Additionally, it is looking to expand its offering in the diesel-dominated SUV segment, from the sole model Captiva. Rumours indicate that the large SUV Trailblazer is being mulled for India, apart from a new compact model on an existing platform.

“We are looking at an SUV in the affordable range. Something that is accessible to a larger segment of buyers,” Mr Paddock said.

DIESEL FOCUS

Meanwhile, an enlarged diesel range will cater to the sharp shift in demand to such vehicles (about 45 per cent of the industry sales today) because of the cheaper fuel.

After petrol prices were de-regulated in 2010 and started climbing, diesel fuel became much cheaper than petrol leading to lower ownership costs.

New models will thus, give GM an opportunity to have a larger diesel car portfolio, since currently it could not modify the Spark, Aveo and U-VA models suitably to fit in a diesel engine.

Separately, GM also launched an updated version of the Cruze (starting Rs 13.85 lakh) featuring a new 2-litre diesel engine and a new manual transmission on Wednesday.

A day before it had launched a new automatic variant for the Captiva SUV as well with a bigger 2.2-litre diesel engine (earlier 2-litre).

With an investment of over $1 billion in India, GM has two production facilities – at Talegaon, near Pune and Halol, Gujarat. Across both, it currently has a capacity to produce 2.25 lakh cars a year. This fiscal, it hopes to grow at the same pace as the market – which is forecasted to move up by 10-12 per cent.

roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on June 27, 2012

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