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GM bets on China models for India

Calcutta, Oct. 14: GM India is targeting a double-digit market share with its new models, which are being developed with Chinese joint venture partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC). Come November, and the first car from the GM-Shanghai Automotive garage — the Sail U-VA — will hit the road. In early, 2013, the MPV Enjoy — the second car from the duo — will be out as well.

The company, which had sold 83,969 units from January to September last year, sold 71,500 odd units during the same period this year, a decline of 17 per cent. For the whole of last year, GM India had sold 1,11,510 units.

On whether the company’s sales will touch 1 lakh this year, GM India managing director Lowell Paddock said, “We hope to see a surge in our sales at the end of the year when our new products will hit the market. I am not happy with the current sales but we hope the economy will turn around during the festive season as a result of popular sentiments as also the set of reforms introduced by the government.”

While the Sail U-VA will be manufactured in the Talegaon plant in Maharashtra, which also makes the Spark and the Beat, the MPV Enjoy will be rolled out of the Hallol plant in Gujarat, which manufactures the Cruze and the Tavera.

“We have a market share of 3.1 per cent. But that is because we were not present in the volume segment of small diesel cars. But now with the Sail U-VA, we hope to catch up. The small SUV is another growing segment in India and Enjoy will be a volume grosser for us. I am looking at a double-digit market share after we have a presence in these two popular segments,” Paddock said.

He, however, ruled out any new small car below the range of Spark to compete with the Maruti’s Alto 800 or the Hyundai’s Eon.

“No, we are not looking at the A segment. We think that segment will shrink as the market matures and the B2 segment will grow,” said Paddock.

According to Paddock, the Sail U-VA is a global product that has been designed in the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Centre (PATAC), Shanghai. The Sail is the number one hatchback in China, Chile and Ecuador.

With the launch of the new U-VA from the GM-SAIC joint venture, China can turn into a hub for GM’s global operations both as a major market and as a design centre for the company's South Asia operations.

 
 
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