General Motors India are one of those manufacturers who have been going about doing their work silently and at the same time achieving big time success. They recently got a new flexible engine facility at Talegaon, near Pune. Flexible because it is the only one of General Motors India or for that matter General Motors across the world, that can manufacture petrol as well as diesel engines at the same time. The inauguration was attended by Principal Secretary of Industries A.M.Khan, Chief Secretary J.P.Dange, President and Managing Director of GM India Mr.Karl Slym and the Union Minister of Heavy industries and Public Enterprises Vilasrao Deshmukh. The company has invested about Rs.1,000 crore and is expected to produce 1,60,000 engines a year. The plant also has provision for further expansion. Notable is the fact that it would produce engines for all of General Motors India’s small cars this side of the Chevrolet Aveo. Commendable is that all other plants by the company have been winning the greenest plant award by the Indian government three years in a row and the new plant at Talegaon would only complement the other centers in this aspect.
The other main news from the company is that they have got a BS4 compliant engine in their old work horse, the Chevrolet Tavera and it would be re-christened the Chevrolet Tavera BS4. The company would be employing ICML’s 2 liter CRDI engine which is BS4 compliant. This engine is actually picked up from Rover and was used by ICML in their Rhino SUV. The new Chevrolet Tavera BS4’s engine now makes 123 Ps of peak power and developing about 220 Nm of torque. This vehicle would be on the road by February or January 2011 by the earliest and may be one of the cleanest MUVs on the road today. The world is becoming a costlier place to live and this is evident from the fact with the rising costs of car manufacturing inputs. In this case, the low priced GM products would be costlier but only by a bit. This is because of the rising input costs of rubber, steel and other raw materials. The new pricing strategy would be in effect from January 2011.
General Motors India are also looking forward to slot in a smaller engine in their bread and butter Chevrolet Spark model. The reason for this was to position the Chevrolet Spark as a more cost effective proposition to the Alto K10 and the smaller Tata Nano. Not that the company would have to produce an all new groundsup engine since they already have one in their overseas Spark model. The current 1 liter one would also doing
duties and would be a more expensive option for those looking for more power. This engine would be launched by January 2011 in the Indian market. To accommodate for the growing number of cars in their portfolio, the General is looking to increase its dealer network by a good 240 units overall. This target should be achieved by end of 2011. The first step to this was taken by Mr.Karl Slym who inaugurated two new sales point and also 4 service points in the Mumbai area recently.
Speaking of new products, the company is all set to strew the Indian car field with its various new models. This is because of the recent Chinese SIAM agreement. Over the period of next 2 years, atleast 6 new cars would be launched in the Indian market. These cars may be entirely from the General Motors stable or from the new Wualing range. One can expect to see a notchback, small car, hatchback, SUV, a pick up van and also a van on the lines of the Maruti Eeco. The latter car has been already been extensively tested in Nashik in Maharashtra. Going by the look of it, it seems that the car is as spacious as the Maruti Eeco however its interior fit and finish wouldn’t be a patch on the Maruti. The van overall looks very tough and would be priced lower than the Maruti offering. The other new models that we can think as of now would be the Chevrolet Aveo which was displayed at the New York Motor Show. It looks similar to the Chevrolet Beat however more spacious than what the baby could offer. These cars would undergo the homologation process as well as trials in the Company’s Bangalore R&D facility. As far as localization goes, the company would be making this cars with about 90% localisation. This would enable the cars to be priced very competitively. An all new SUV from the Wualing range would be on offer as early as February 2011 and it would go head on with the Mahindra Scorpio and the Tata Safari.
Speaking of the Chevrolet Beat, General Motors India would introducing the much demanded diesel engine under the hood of the small car. Mr. Karl Slym confirmed that there would be a diesel motor under the hood of the Chevrolet Beat as well as LPG variant by April 2011. The diesel motor would be a 1 liter one with 3 cylinders and would be very fuel efficient. This diesel engine has been designed in Europe by GM and would be made at the new recent plant in Talegaon. It would have a heavy percentage of localization and this same car with slight modification would also be exported to the international markets. Another new car which the company is planning to launch in the Eco mindset of the Indian car buying public is an all electric car. This was after the debacle of the joint venture between GM and Reva. The former has been working overtime on getting an electric car to India from their range of international Electric cars to India. The company has taken a leaf out of their short association with Reva and has done their homework in the fact that small towns would like electric cars more. This mini electric car would be on display in the Delhi Motor show scheduled on April 2011. Gauging by the response of the Indian public, GM would think of launching this car in India and at a very competitive price than what the Reva is been offered at.