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GM plans to take on rivals

From The Telegraph India| May 29,2007

GM plans to take on rivals

Calcutta, May 28: General Motors will decide on a launch date for mid-sized sedan Chevrolet Epica and Captiva, a sports utility vehicle, in India within the next three months.

The Chevy Epica will be priced between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 18 lakh and will compete with the Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accord. The Captiva will be priced at Rs 18 lakh, a tad lower the Honda CRV at Rs 20 lakh. The car, which is available in the European markets, could be the only SUV with both petrol and diesel versions in India.

“Discussions are on to launch these two models, which will improve our product range. We now offer cars priced between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 10 lakh,” said Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director, General Motors India. “Our parent company will decide in the next three months. The launch is likely to be in the next calendar year as our hands are full trying to meet our current targets with new launches.”

The company, which recently launched the Chevrolet Spark, is looking at a sales target of 70,000 units this year against 35,000 last year and 25,000 two years ago. GM will concentrate on the Chevy range for now but did not rule out the introduction of other brands such as the Saab, Vauxhall, Pontiac and Cadillac. The company hopes to sell more than a lakh cars from next year when the Pune plant starts operations. Chaba was in the city to launch the Chevy Spark, which has already attracted over 15,000 enquiries in the north and west.

“We are yet to decide as to how to go about the modalities of the launch whether on a completely built imported unit or completely knock-down units,” Chaba said. The company will also launch the Optra diesel version in the next 10 days, which is expected to have a price tag of Rs 9 lakh to Rs 10 lakh and will be the second model in the diesel sedan segment after Skoda Octavia.

Chaba added that the diesel platform which currently contributes around 30 to 35 per cent of the total sales was expected to go up to 50 per cent in the next two three years.

GM India is also working to introduce a CNG model for Aveo.

The two models of Aveo UVA and the recently launched Chevy Spark are expected to generate over 70 per cent of the company’s sales in the years to come.

As sales volumes are rising, GM is in talks to work out a model for its branded pre-owned car business.

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