GM Pins Hopes On India

June 8, 2009

General Motors, facing one of the worst auto industry sales slumps in decades and struggling to emerge from bankruptcy, is pinning its hopes on the Indian market to fuel its future growth and hopefully turn around its fortunes. The emerging market is still in its infancy but GM intends on rolling out a host of new models in India over the coming years to help boost its image and build market share.

There remains huge potential for automakers in India. In America, for example, there are about 850 cars per 1,000 people, whereas in India there are only seven per 1,000. With a population well in excess of one billion and new roads and infrastructure expanding by the minute, India is poised to become one of the most lucrative markets for automakers over the next several decades.

Speaking with the Associated Press, GM’s Indian chief Karl Slym said there were no plans to reduce the division’s 4,000 staff and boasted that it was “business as usual.” GM is currently the fifth biggest automaker in the country and last year made 65,702 local sales.

This week the automaker launched a new liquefied natural gas version of the Chevrolet Spark minicar. The segment is crucial for all automakers as minicars account for almost 80% of new car sales in India.

Equally important to GM, or any other major automaker for that matter, is China, which also has great potential for future growth. GM’s Buick brand is one of the top sellers in China and increased local design and production is helping to build a strong presence amongst buyers and boost loyalty, which in turn leads to more market share.

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