New Delhi: General Motors Corp is confident of meeting its target of 10% of the Indian market by 2010, Karl Slym, head of its India operations, said on Wednesday.
General Motors is expanding its dealer network in India “significantly” in 2008 and would launch new models that would help it raise market share, Slym, GM India’s president and managing director, said at the launch of the company’s Captiva vehicle at the Auto Show.
General Motors, which is building a second factory in India to take capacity to more than 225,000 units, sold more than 60,000 vehicles in India in 2007, a 68% rise over the previous year.
It has said it may also build an engine and transmission plant and that India could become an export hub for small cars.
General Motors Corp sees an opportunity for future technology-based partnerships with Indian automakers although no such discussions are now under way, Rick Wagoner, GM chief executive said on Tuesday.
“I don’t rule it out, and I suspect over time there will be some opportunities there,” Wagoner told reporters after a keynote speech to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Wagoner’s speech, the first address ever by an auto executive to the electronics industry’s major trade show, centered on GM’s efforts to develop alternatives to traditional gasoline-powered combustion engines including rechargeable electric cars and hydrogen-powered, fuel cell vehicles.
“A lot of these new technologies, particularly in their first and second rounds, are expensive, so the question becomes how you handle those in the context of achieving reasonable financial results,” Wagoner said.
Wagoner said GM had benefited from a partnership with BMW AG and what had been DaimlerChrysler to develop hybrid systems that could be specifically tailored for heavier or more performance-oriented vehicles.
GM has begun to roll out the first vehicles to run with that “two-mode” hybrid system, including a hybrid version of the Tahoe sport-utility vehicle.
“Our experience in that was good. We’re open in doing more of that. In fact, we’re interested in doing more of that, so stay tuned,” Wagoner said.
The comments on GM’s interest in a potential technology-based partnership with an Indian car maker came as Detroit-based rival Ford Motor Co announced plans to invest $500 million in India to double manufacturing capacity in that fast-growing market.
GM forecasts that global auto sales will grow from about 70 million vehicles in 2007 to 85 million on an industry-wide, annual basis over the next five years.
Wagoner said on Tuesday that GM expects that 80% of that forecast increase or 12 million new cars and trucks -- will come from developing markets like India and China.