GM's little Spark plans dropped


US-based General Motors (GM) on Thursday said the company had shelved plans to launch a small car in the Indian market positioned below its Chevrolet Spark.

Karl Slym, president and managing director, GM India, said, “We did have a plan (to launch a smaller car than the Spark), but no longer now. We have shelved the plans to get into that segment.”


Adding: “There is no decision now to go below the segment where the Spark is present and all future models in our portfolio in India will be positioned above this car.”

General Motors’ flagship car, the Chevrolet Spark comes with a 1,000cc engine and is available in petrol and LPG fuel variants. The car is the cheapest offering GM has in India, priced between Rs 3.01 lakh and Rs 4.31 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

In January, GM’s president, international operations, Tim Lee, had said the company was working closely with SAIC of China and looking at opportunities to introduce a product priced lower than the Spark. The proposed car was intended to take on the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Alto.

GM has the Spark and the Chevrolet Beat as small cars and a premium hatchback, the Aveo U-VA, in its portfolio. Together, they registered sales of 75,814 units in 2010.

Slym declined to specify if the company was looking at introducing the Spark with a lower capacity, 800cc, engine. “Our power train plant can produce different engines; we will decide accordingly,” he said.

The company is gearing to launch a diesel variant of the Beat next month. "This is going to be one of the most fuel-efficient cars. According to Automotive Research Association of India standards, the car will give 24 km for every litre," informed Slym.

GM aims to treble annual sales to 300,000 units by 2013 and is looking to launch five new vehicles in association with SAIC over the next two years.

The first of the series is to be launched at Auto Expo in Delhi in January.

The intended list is for two light commercial vehicles, a sports utlity vehicle, a sedan and a hatchback. The first of the series is to be launched during the Auto Expo in Delhi in January 2012.

GM has two production units, at Halol in Gujarat and Talegaon in Maharashtra. It has planned to invest $ 500 million (Rs 2,200 crore) to increase its annual capacity by 80 per cent to 410,000 units by the end of next year.