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GM India’s Chinese Plot

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GM India's stand at the Delhi Auto Expo was a packed house on Thursday. The American carmaker unveiled two new products - Chevrolet Tavera Neo3 and Captiva 2.2 AT, as new versions of the existing MPV and SUV, respectively.

Apart from showcasing and unveiling of various new models and concept vehicles, General Motors India also introduced its new top boss – Lowell Paddock. While the American automaker has on display some of the most futuristic cars including Volt, Beat Electric Vehicle and EN-V, what is more interesting is that Paddock was responsible for the integration of Shanghai GM with GM's small, compact and midsize global architectural development teams. This comes at a time when GM is expected to bring Wuling CN-100 MPV and another van to India from its GM-SAIC partnership.  

The company has invested over $1 billion in India and employs close to 4,500 people directly at its operations at Halol, Talegaon, Bangalore and Gurgaon. GM is also planning to introduce light commercial vehicles this year for which its Halol plant is going under capacity expansion.
The Chinese plot to the GM India story is thickening. The crystal ball shows that GM India will bring a series of products from its Chinese joint venture to strengthen its presence in India.

China offers a low-cost destination to all sorts of manufacturers, but their products are not popular in India – considered to be low on quality and less durable. However, GM India's effort would be bolster its footprint in India, a profitable venture, while dispelling the Chinese image around these products. This is evident from the fact that the GM stand still has two more unveils on Friday.

On his appointment, Paddock said that he always had an interest in India due to his connections to GM's Shanghai operations. On being asked about bringing some products from the Chinese JV, he said, "Well, there's certainly some relationship to that (GM-SAIC products)." What remains to be seen is that whether these products will sport the Chevrolet bow-tie or a Wuling logo.

Another interesting aspect is that the outgoing president Karl Slym, having gathered a strong understanding of the India market is going to China to head the GM-SAIC-Wuling operations.Does that mean GM India is looking for cross-selling opportunities in South-Asia? Wait and Watch.