GM India to launch 6 new models, pump in $500 mn



General Motors India, the owner of the Chevrolet brand, is looking to invest $500 million (Rs 2,250 crore) over the next two years as part of its new product development and plant expansion plans.

The company will launch six new vehicles —a pick-up van, multi-seater van, hatchback, notchback, sports utility vehicle and multi-purpose vehicle. This will be in addition to the light commercial vehicles that would be launched in 2012.

Most of these products are made by the GM-SAIC-Wuling joint venture, which is operational in China. The products will go through the company’s Bangalore research and development centre to make them suitable for Indian buyers. It will also sport a localisation level of 90 per cent.

The company, a 50:50 joint venture between General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), has also awarded contracts worth $500 million to component vendors that supply parts to its international plants. About 80 vendors are currently supplying to its international plants.

General Motors, which has come out with an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, has no plans to fund expansion activities of subsidiary companies like the India unit.

Karl Slym, president, GM India, said, “Much of the proceeds will go into repaying debt. The Indian operations can be run with the money generated by itself. So we are reinvesting whatever we sell.”

The company is also working on a new version of its compact car Spark that would sport a smaller engine — on all probability a 800cc — and is expected to be launched in two years.

“We see good opportunity for a small engine in India in the Spark. We sell the proposed engine in some of the overseas countries. We are working on a smaller version of the Spark. There will also be a new engine offering for the Beat which will come with a one-litre diesel engine,” added Slym.

In addition, the company would create a new brand for the commercial vehicle venture that would be a derivative of the Chevrolet brand. All passenger vehicles, including those which were originally developed in China, will be branded as Chevrolet.