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GM steps on gas to boost market share

New Delhi, Oct. 13: The Indian unit of US-based General Motors Corp today launched the automatic version of Chevrolet Optra sedan, hoping to boost its presence in the country. The company is struggling to gain market share here.

The sedan, sporting a sticker price between Rs 9 to Rs 10.2 lakh, would be available in two versions — Optra LS and Optra LT.

GM India Pvt Ltd (GMIL), wholly owned by the world’s largest automaker, also announced it would launch a multi-utility vehicle, Travera, next year. “We are working on the product and we hope to launch it by the middle of next year,” a senior company official said.

GM, which entered the country in mid-1990s, currently makes the German-engineered Astra, Optra, Corsa, Swing sedans and the Corsa Sail hatchback, while imports the fully built Forester utility vehicle.

The Optra, launched in early July and powered by a 1.8-litre engine, is the first vehicle to be developed by GM’s new South Korean venture, GM Daewoo Auto & Technology.

“India is one of the first markets to have the Optra which shows the commitment GM has to one of world’s fastest growing markets,” said Aditya Vij, president of GMIL.

Vij also said the carmaker plans to introduce Optra “in due course” across six countries located in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We expect to sell around 1,600 units of the automatic version this year,” he said. Company officials added that cumulative sells of the Optra model in 2003 would clock between 5,000 to 6,000 units.

Currently, the company has a share of about 2 per cent of the entire car market and about 8 per cent share of the bigger, mid-sized car segment where most of its models are positioned.

The carmaker plans to ramp up its investments in its factory located in Halol to increase the production capacity to 50,000 units a year. “We will end up spending Rs 1,380 crore by the end of this year,” said P. Balendran, spokesman for GMIL.

Splendor variant

Hero Honda Motors today launched a variant of its 100cc motorcycle Splendor.

The new version Splendor has been introduced after an extensive market research which suggested changing requirements of customers, a company statement said

The new version would co-exist with the base variant of Splendor and would be targeted at an emerging category within the executive segment, it said.

Hero Honda had recently introduced another variant of Passion in the executive category.

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