General Motors’ first LCV to be rolled out by Q1, 2012

General Motors’ first LCV to be rolled out by Q1, 2012

Chennai: The first light commercial vehicle from US automobile giant General Motors will be rolled out in the first quarter of 2012, a top company official said Wednesday.

With the foray into the commercial vehicle space, General Motors would be the latest to enter into this category after auto majors Tata Motors, Mahindra and from Ashok Leyland-Nissan.

General Motors India vice-president P Balendran said the company proposes to launch five new models in the next 18 months in the domestic market.

“In the next 18 months, we plan to introduce five new products. The models will be a hatchback, sedan, an utility vehicle, a van and Euro-IV version of (SUV) Tavera," he told reporters after unveiling the Chevrolet Beat diesel variant in the Tamil Nadu market.

“The first product will be a utility vehicle to be rolled out during the first quarter of next year. It can be sub-one tonne category," he said without elaborating.

He said General Motors India is on a massive expansion plan in both plants at Halol in Gujarat and Talegaon in Maharashtra and has invested $1 billion (about 5,000 crore) till date.

The LCVs would be rolled out from the Halol plant along with hatchbacks Spark, Aveo-UVA, mid-size sedan Aveo, premium sedan Optra, Sports Utility Vehicle Tavera and premium SUV Captiva.

However, for manufacturing engines, General Motors India has set up the first power-train plant in Talegaon at a cost of $230 million. It would be the first flexi-plant for the company to produce both petrol and diesel engines for small passenger cars.

Balendran replied in the affirmative when asked if GM would introduce a diesel variant of its popular selling Chevrolet Spark, saying it would be decided by the “success" of the Beat diesel variant.

Since the launch of the car on 25 July countrywide, the company has got bookings of over 5,250 units, he said.

He said GM has set a target of selling in excess of 5,000 units of the Diesel variant in the domestic market this year.

With the car market remaining “sluggish" due to hike in interest rates and increase in fuel prices, Balendran hoped GM would clock sales of 1.40 lakh units this year compared to 1.10 lakh in 2010.

“The passenger car business reported a negative 15 per cent growth in July. I hope it would start improving in the festive season," he said.

The Beat Diesel equipped with one litre engine,launch launched today is priced at 4.37 lakh for the base version and the top variant is priced at 5.55 lakh (ex-showroom Chennai).

Tamil Nadu and Kerala constitutes 20 to 25% of sales for General Motors India. North India contributes majority of sales at 35 per cent and the West 25-30%, he added.