GM plans to triple sales in India, launch new cars

General Motors' expects to triple its sales in India to 300,000 units over the next two years as it takes advantage of one of the fastest growing auto markets, the automaker's India head said on Thursday.

New Delhi: General Motors' expects to triple its sales in India to 300,000 units over the next two years as it takes advantage of one of the fastest growing auto markets, the automaker's India head said on Thursday.

The US automaker plans to launch six new vehicles in India over the next two years. "Things were good when looked through the rear window, things will be even better when we look through the front in 2011," Karl Slym, president of GM India, said at a press conference.

Slym also said GM plans to source USD 1 billion worth of auto parts from India over the next two years, reflecting the growing trend of sourcing in India's USD 26 billion auto component industry.

GM is one of many global automakers increasing their sourcing from India as rising cost pressures in their home markets drive them to source from countries that offer cheaper labor and parts.

Analysts have said that growing trend, combined with the country's own rising demand, could grow the Indian auto component industry to USD 113 bn by 2020.

Vehicle sales in India grew a record 31 percent in 2010, driven by a burgeoning middle class, but tougher comparisons, rising interest rates and rising fuel and vehicles costs are expected to slow sales growth this year.

China, the world's largest and fastest growing major car market, saw sales rise by a third in 2010, and is also seen slowing in 2011 due to rising gas prices, the withdrawal of subsidies and new laws governing new car registrations.

GM expects its India sales to grow at double the pace of the industry in 2011, when the sector is expected to grow at roughly 12 to 15 percent.

"Our growth outpaced the industry growth last year, we grew at 30 percent. We will surely outpace the market in 2011 as well," Slym said.

GM expects industrywide sales in China to grow 10 to 15 percent this year, Slym said.

While India's car market is growing apace with China's, it has a lot more room to grow with a population of nearly 1.2 billion, just behind China's 1.3 billion.

Chinese car sales reached 13.8 million units in 2010, while Indian sales totaled 1.9 million units.

GM, which launched in India 14 years ago and is targeting sales of 300,000 vehicles by 2013, also has room to expand. It sold 110,000 vehicles in India last year, roughly the same amount market leader Maruti Suzuki sells in a month.

GM, which pulled off the biggest initial public offering in U.S. history by raising USD 20.1 billion last year, will launch four new cars and two commercial vehicles in India over the next two years, Slym said.

Its current models sold in India include the Chevrolet Beat, the Chevrolet Spark and the Chevrolet Tavera utility.

A number of global automakers in India such as Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen and Ford are also lining up new models and boosting investment in the country, responding to brisk demand.

Bureau Report

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