GM India has begun research & development for a car smaller than the Spark in India. GM plans to use its partner SAIC Motor Corp’s expertise in low-cost manufacturing to make this project cost competitive and may look at launching this car in the Nano segment in the Rs 2 Lakh price bracket in the next few years.
Karl Slym, president and managing director, GM India, said the company is “open to having a value car smaller than the Spark and work has already begun on it in India. SAIC, our 50 per cent joint venture partner in India, is very advanced on such low-cost manufacturing and we will use its expertise.”
While denying any substantial component sourcing from SAIC’s home turf, China, Slym said, “a lot of money is wasted in duties and logistics if one were to import components from China. Our endeavour is to use low cost supply base in India.”
GM India has already sounded out suppliers on the need for low cost parts for this ‘value’ car but declined to answer a query on the lessons and learning it would derive from the Tata Nano. Earlier, GM had indicated its willingness to come out with a $5,000 car and Slym said that the car being developed may not actually fall in the Rs 1 Lakh bracket but could be priced towards the higher end of Nano price band.
Companies such as Maruti Suzuki are also readying for launch in this segment. Slym also acknowledged GM’s interest in bringing to India the hatchback and the notchback version of ‘Sail’. On the breakup of GM India’s partnership with Reva Electric Car Company recently, Slym said that the project envisaging an electric Spark has been abandoned. Instead, GM India will now look to develop an electric car in the U.S., with help from Indian engineers, suited to Indian needs.
GM sells the Spark, Aveo, Aveo UVA, Beat, Captiva, Optra, Cruze and Tavera in India. Its total manufacturing capacity across two plants stands at 3.85 Lakh units.