Amidst slowdown worries, General Motors goes slow on new car development for the Indian market
Facing the brunt of dismal car sales across its portfolio, General Motors India is slowing down o new car development for the Indian market. Almost all of GM’s cars in India, save for the Beat, have not been performing well at the hustings and this factor, combined with the overall slowdown in car sales across the county due to the twin factors of high interest rates and fuel prices has prompted GM to rejig its launch plans. The first casualty will be the LCV that GM planned to launch in India, in partnership with its Chinese partner SAIC.
Since commercial vehicles sales have hit a trough, this Chinese LCV will be delayed until further notice. Apart from this, GM India has also put the development of a new small car, to be slotted in between the Spark and the Beat hatchbacks, on the back burner. These changes apart, the American car maker will go ahead with the launch of the Sail hatchback and sedan twins in the second half of the year. The Sail hatchback will be the first car to arrive onto the market with petrol and diesel engined variants while the sedan variant will follow during the end of the year.
GM’s entry level product in India, the Spark hatchback, has seen a steep decline in sales despite the car featuring both petrol and LPG dual fuel engine options. To boost sales of the Spark, the automaker plans to give it a facelift, which could be launched by the end of this year. An 800cc, three cylinder petrol engine could also make it into the spark’s engine bay, in order to boost fuel economy and compete with the likes of the Maruti Alto and the Hyundai Eon. Curently, the Spark comes with a 1 Liter, 4 pot petrol engine which while being more powerful, is less fuel efficient than its rivals, which feature smaller engines.
Earlier today, General Motors India launched the 2012 Cruze sedan, which now features a brand new turbo diesel engine that is vastly improved over the older unit. The car also gets a new six speed manual gearbox. Yesterday, the brand soft launched the 2012 facelifted Captiva SUV, which was showcased at this year’s Auto Expo. The other launch for this year, apart from the Sail twins, will be the Chevrolet Enjoy MPV, which is a rebadged Wuling CN100 MPV.