GM could soon enter the Indian utility market with their own van that would be launched in the market in which the Eeco from Maruti Suzuki and Tata Venture was launched, by early 2012.
While this van is expected to have the same capacity as Maruti’s Eeco that is a five-seven seater, the GM van could be priced more premium. GM India’s Vice President, P. Balendran said that their utility vehicle or van will be introduced in the market in which the Eeco and Tata Venture were launched; however it is likely to be priced higher. They want to create a little product differentiation within this segment by offering more features.
He also added that they have already formalized agreements for sourcing engines for their LCV’s; however he did not give any details regarding the supplier. The Eeco from Maruti Suzuki is priced around Rs.2.8 to 3.8 lakh, with the Venture from Tata priced higher at Rs.4 to 5 lakh.
The van will be a Chevrolet brand, build on the LCV platform developed with their Chinese partner SAIC. It will be the first model offered in their new range, which is scheduled to be produced at their Halol plant. The Chinese company SAIC owns a 50% stake in General Motors India.
They will also launch another product using the platform used for their product. This is a 1 ton pickup truck to be launched just about the same time, which will compete with other four-wheeled light commercial models like the Maxximo from Mahindra, and Tata Ace.
Other manufacturers like Piaggio, Bajaj and Ashok Leyland are believed to producing new vehicles for release in this segment as well that has grown following demand from inter city and short distance goods transport.
GM India’s parent company, GM based in US will invest Rs.700 crore into their Halol plant, from their investment expenditure of Rs.1,400 crore for the fiscal 2011-12. This investment will also be used for converting their facility in Halol into a worldwide centre for manufacturing LCV’s, and increasing their manufacturing capacity to around 1.05 lakh models per annum. The plant’s current production capacity is 85,000 models per annum. They also have a car facility in Talegaon, which has a production capacity of 1.4 lakh models per annum.