General Motors expects rise in petrol car sales

Kolkata, Feb 6 (IANS) US automobile major General Motors (GM) Wednesday said it is expecting a major rise in sales of petrol-driven Chevrolet Beat and Chevrolet Sail cars following the partial de-regulation of diesel prices.

Both car models come in diesel as well as petrol versions.

The company said it has already witnessed a rise in demands for petrol version cars, which had registered a muted sale in 2012 after diesel prices were hiked in December following a central government decision to authorise oil marketing companies to hike the prices of diesel time to time.

Oil companies said they would increase the price of diesel by 40 to 50 paise (half a rupee) a litre every month.

"In case of Beat, which has both petrol and diesel versions, demands for petrol cars went down to 14 percent of the total sales last year. Now the contribution of petrol car is growing," Chevrolet Sales India Pvt. Ltd. director, sales, Vikas Jain told reporters here.

"It may grow up to 25 percent or maybe 30 percent. That is a big shift because of diesel price re-adjustment," Jain said. Chevrolet is a division of GM.

"Even for the new cars, which we have launched, there is a very good demand for petrol version. My expectation is going forward as ratio of petrol cars is going to rise as high as 30 percent," Jain said.

He was in the city to launch Chevrolet Sail premium Sedan. The company has earlier launched Sail hatchback.

In its wide-range of product portfolio, the auto maker has only Sail and small car Beat with both petrol and diesel versions.

The company in the next two to three months will launch a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) 'Enjoy' with both the fuel versions.

Meanwhile, the US auto major said its Indian operation is expected to clock "some profits" in the next two to four years.

"Currently, we are not into profits. We did make some profits in between...in the mid 2000 we made some money...Automobile is not a business which has a quick turnaround. It has a long gestation period," General Motors India chief financial officer Anil Mehrotra said.

"There is a need to build the brand and the trust of the customers and we are still in the investment phase. In the next two to four years, we expect to make some profits," Mehrotra added.

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