Local tilt in GM product plan

Calcutta, Feb. 6: General Motors plans to offer a range of utility vehicles based on an India-specific platform developed in partnership with Chinese firms SAIC Motor and Wuling Automobile.

The Detroit-based company is a strategic partner in the Chinese firm SGMW (SAIC-GM-Wuling).

SGMW is known for its presence in affordable utility vehicles, and GM is set to launch the first India-specific utility vehicle Enjoy based on the SGMW platform within three months from its plant at Halol in Gujarat.

The multi-purpose vehicle with an 80 per cent localisation will compete with Maruti Suzuki's Ertiga, Nissan's Evalia and Toyota's Innova.

"We have made significant investment in the platform and shall continue to leverage it further for more products in the future," GM India CFO Anil Mehrotra said on the sidelines of the launch of the Sail sedan here today.

The amount spent on the new platform is part of the over $1-billion investment by the car maker in India.

GM has phased out the Aveo, Aveo UVA and Optra from the country and has replaced them with the Sail UVA hatchback, Sail sedan and the Enjoy. The Sail platform, which has replaced the Aveo, has been developed with SAIC Motor with whom GM has a technical collaboration.

Mehrotra said the company hoped to post profit within four years.

"Automobile is not a business which has a quick turnaround. It has a long gestation period. There is a need to build the brand and the trust of the customers. We are still in the investment phase. In the next 2-4 years, we expect to make some profits," he said.

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