GM TO HALT IN­DIA CAR SALES

Car­maker will not leave coun­try en­tirely but plans to turn plant into ex­port-only fac­tory

New Straits Times - - Business -

GEN­ERAL Mo­tors Co will stop sell­ing cars in In­dia from the end of this year, draw­ing a line un­der two decades of bat­tling in one of the world’s most com­pet­i­tive mar­kets where it has less than a one per cent share of pas­sen­ger car sales.

The de­ci­sion was an­nounced as part of a se­ries of re­struc­tur­ing ac­tions from the Detroit car­maker yes­ter­day and marks a blow to In­dia’s strat­egy of en­cour­ag­ing do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ing.

GM said it would no longer mar- ket its Chevro­let brand — its only brand of cars mar­keted in In­dia — de­spite In­dia’s prom­ise as a mar­ket set to over­take Japan as the world’s third largest.

But it doesn’t plan to leave In­dia en­tirely. It plans to keep op­er­at­ing its tech cen­tre in Ban­ga­lore and re­fo­cus its man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions by mak­ing one of its two assem­bly plants in In­dia, the Tale­gaon plant, into an ex­por­tonly fac­tory. It plans to sell its Halol plant to Chi­nese joint ven­ture part­ner SAIC Mo­tor Corp.

“We are not giv­ing up the ben­e­fits In­dia of­fers as a lo­cal cost man­u­fac­tur­ing hub with an ex­cel­lent sup­plier base which is ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive,” said Ste­fan Ja­coby, GM’s chief of in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions.

GM’s ex­ports from In­dia, mainly to Mex­ico and Latin Amer­ica, dou­bled to 70,969 ve­hi­cles in the fis­cal year that ended on March 31.

Ja­coby said the move to turn Tale­gaon assem­bly into an ex­port-only plant would not im­pact GM Korea and its po­si­tion as an ex­port hub.

In­dia will ex­port ve­hi­cles mostly to Mex­ico and South Amer­ica, among other des­ti­na­tions, while GM Korea will ship cars to North Amer­ica, South­east Asia, Aus­tralia and Pak­istan.

GM global pres­i­dent Dan Am­mann said the re­struc­tur­ing ac­tions for In­dia can­celled “most” of the plan GM un­veiled in 2015 to in­vest US$1 bil­lion (RM4.3 bil­lion) in In­dia to de­ploy newly-de­signed ve­hi­cles as part of a Global Emerg­ing Mar­ket ve­hi­cle pro­gramme and build a line of low­cost ve­hi­cles in In­dia.

The de­ci­sions to scale down GM’s op­er­a­tions in In­dia were re­sults of months of anal­y­sis over “where we are go­ing to place our bets (glob­ally) as a com­pany”, Am­mann said in an in­ter­view.

BLOOMBERG PIC

Singapore Air­lines says it is em­bark­ing on a wide-rang­ing re­view of its net­work, fleet ser­vices, or­gan­i­sa­tional struc­ture and pro­cesses.

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