Quick Edit | GM and Indian innovation

Quick Edit | GM and Indian innovation

As the global economy sputters to a start, firms are keen on breaking into comparatively high-growth markets such as India. Tata Motors was an innovator on cost with the Nano, and now it seems Bangalore-based Reva Electric Car Co. may become a prominent innovator in technology with its electric cars.

Last week, General Motors (GM) announced a tie-up with Reva to bring cheap electric cars to Indian roads by 2010. It’s too early to say what GM’s playbook holds. Reva has put out at least 3,000 electric cars since 2001, according to the Associated Press, a humble slice of India’s auto market.

This newspaper commented on a recent Harvard Business Review paper co-authored by General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt on “reverse innovation"—bringing ideas from emerging markets to more established ones.

GM could well be doing this, gambling on a start-up. India’s role in innovation isn’t new, but it says a lot that Reva is backed by one of Detroit’s most stalwart auto makers. Maybe others will look to India for more innovation.