GM To Enter Light Commercial Vehicle Segment by 2011 End

Karl SlymDo you propose to pump in more investment in Halol Plant in Gujarat?

Yes of course. Though investment is an ongoing process, we propose to invest about $100 billion (which is in excess of Rs.400 crore) this year to introduce new models and expand our commercial vehicle production capacity.

Can you elaborate on the new variants/models GM plans to launch?

In the next 24 months, we will launch six models of passenger cars and 14 new versions of existing models. In India the current market ratio is 60 per cent for passenger vehicles and 40 per cent for commercial vehicles.

You talked about launch of commercial vehicles in India – what is on?

Yes. We plan to enter the light commercial vehicle segment. We are presently working on the changes that are needed in the Halol production centre. We plan to roll out from Halol Plant three models of light commercial vehicles.

What will be the capacity expansion in Halol?

At present, the Halol plant produces cars Aveo, Optra, Cruze and multi-utility vehicle Tavera. Within next 12 months we propose to scale up the capacity to 1, 05,000 units per year from the current production capacity of 85,000 units per annum. Remember Malegaon (in Maharashtra) rolls out 1.4 lakh units as part of Phase I and another 1.6  lakh units would be rolled out from Malegaon in the second phase taking the total roll out to 3 lakh units.

To what an extent LCVs will have localization?

The localisation of the vehicles produced in India is expected to be about 90%.

What about Electric Cars?

We will be showcasing a mini size electric car in April this year. Only showcasing and not selling. We would like to test the vehicle in the Indian climate and understand its usage and then take it forward.

Will this Electric Car be a proto type and have you decided on its price?

It will be a proper model and we have not yet put a price tag on it.

How 2010 had been for auto industry and what is the outlook for 2011?

We can’t complain about 2010. It started off as a very concerning year for us, but by the end of the year the industry grew by 30% and we grew by 60%. During our pre-budget presentation before the Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, we urged him to keep in mind the whole economic scenario, like high commodity price, etc while presenting the budget for the financial year 2011-12.

Do you see the price increasing in the near future?

It would depend on whole lot of factors — commodity prices have gone up, fuel prices are going up and the EMI have gone up due to hike in interest rates.  But in 2010, consumers could still buy more vehicles as their wages went up more than the hike in EMI or fuel prices. Our eyes will be on all these factors and also on the announcements in the coming Budget.

Has GM been focusing on the “Cruze”?

Cruze is a high volume car in its segment and it is a brand image vehicle for us. It is not only Cruze, you would also see fresh new model of Chevrolet entering the market soon.