General Motors may use its Chinese associations to launch a rival for Tata Nano in India. The U.S. car maker believes its joint venture with SAIC, one of the top three auto makers in China, will help it introduce a car to compete with the world’s cheapest car,
GM’s small cars already in India such as Chevrolet Beat
are designed in South Korea. GM bets on its China connection to break new grounds. SAIC has already acquired 50 per cent stake in GM India.
The first products from GM’s 3-way joint venture in China with Wuling and SAIC will be introduced in India end 2011 when it will roll out two minivans - Wuling Rongguang and Sunshine. These will be built at GM India’s Talegaon and Halol plants. GM India now has access to the complete portfolio of GM, SAIC as well as the SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Company combine to be introduced in the country, said Timothy E Lee, president, GM International Operations.
This will include several cost-effective products in both passenger and commercial vehicle space from the SAIC-Wuling alliance. Meanwhile, the Chinese car makers are happy coming to India with a GM tag. While GM gives them access to a name that ruled the global car market and an established network in India, an equally compelling reason might be India’s sensitivity to Chinese companies.
New Delhi recently told Indian telcos not to place orders with Chinese equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp due to security concerns. GM officials, however, say that there has been no indication that Indian authorities have a problem with SAIC buying 50 per cent stake in GM India.
The architecture for the Wuling products will come from China but they will be made in Halol and Talegaon. Apart from the Wuling minivans, GM’s Chinese alliance could spawn other products for India including the recently launched Chevy Sail, touted as its first car totally developed at Shanghai GM.