GM CEO Mary Barra says India represents a great opportunity for Chevrolet
General Motors will be launching 27 new Opel models in Europe from 2014-18 while in the company has already launched 32 new vehicles in US markets during 2013-14. 17 new or upgraded models in China have been introduced this year while Barra did not give any time frame for launches in India.
Mary Barra visited the company facility in Talegaon Pune, met with suppliers, dealers and the business community to understand needs and demands of buyers in the country. General Motors is facing stiff competition in India from Hyundai Motors, Honda Motor Co and Maruti Suzuki which together command two thirds of car sales in the country.
General Motors entered India in 1994 and has seen its market share fall to 3.2% in the past fiscal from a 3.3 % in the earlier fiscal. The company has reportedly accumulated losses to the tune of INR 2,740 crores in the past two decades after entry in India. In August 2014, Chevrolet reported sales decline of 36.58% from 6,673 units sold in August 2013 to 4,232 units sold last month.
Launch of new cars is on the cards while the company has also commenced exporting of cars from India to Chile with plans of making India an export hub for the Asia Pacific region. The oft discussed ‘Amber’ project remains in focus. Barra views the Indian market as a great opportunity for Chevrolet due to its relatively small vehicle population, which is growing at quick pace. A young middle class will drive India as one of three largest markets by 2020. GM continues to work on understanding the Indian market in ensuring safe, high-quality Chevrolet cars with modern designs that exceed expectation.
With about $1 billion invested in India to date, its Talegaon and Halol facilities can produce more than 280,000 vehicles annually. GM Technical Center-India is carrying out local and global engineering projects.Tim Solso, non-executive chairman of the GM Board of Directors, Stefan Jacoby, executive vice president and president, GM International, Chuck Stevens, GM executive vice president and chief financial officer, and Arvind Saxena, GM India president and managing director visited GM facilities and met with employees, suppliers and government leaders.
At GM’s Talegaon manufacturing facility in Pune, Barra was part of celebrations revolving around production of the first Chevrolet vehicle for export, a left hand drive Chevy Beat. Beginning later in 2014, vehicles will initially be exported to Chile, available to customers there in early 2015. Meetings with GM’s top suppliers in Pune focused on opportunities for global sourcing and improved partnerships. General Motors continues to localize its supply base to make greater use of products manufactured in India. Visits to Chevrolet dealerships were scheduled to further analyse market momentum, customer preferences and network performance.
Stefan Jacoby today addressed the annual convention of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) in New Delhi discussing positive automotive industry’s economic impact, its importance for markets such as India. GM is committed to long-term prospects for India and its automotive industry, and keeping its options wide so its investment is good for India, and for General Motors.