General Motors India (GMI), the Indian arm of the US automobile major, announced its plans to enter the growing sports utility vehicle segment, unveiling the 2-litre diesel driven Captiva. The company also disclosed its commitment to set up a power train manufacturing facility in the country.
GMI president and managing director Karl Slym said GMI hopes to capture 10 per cent of the Indian automobile market by 2010 and discounted fears that Tata Motors' proposed Rs 1 lakh car would shake up the industry. "The small car industry has changed with many launches and a country with 1.2 billion people has diverse needs. The mini-car segment is already fractured. Tata Motors' car will develop a new piece of the market," he felt.
Chevrolet Captiva has been aggressively priced to compete with Honda CR-V, Pajero, Nissan X-Trail and Maruti's Grand Vitara. The SUV will be available to the customers for Rs 17.74 lakh (ex-showroom) and is being imported in a completely built unit form. The company would consider manufacturing the vehicle here if it is able to get requisite volumes.
"We believe Captiva will be a successful vehicle in the Indian roads. We hope to sell 1,000 units in 2008," Slym said.
The company estimates that the SUV segment would grow from 7,000 units per annum at present to 28,000 units by 2012.
Slym said the company is currently finalising the site for setting up a power train facility. "Our Talegaon plant with a capacity of 1.4 lakh per annum will be operational in the second half of the year," he added.
GMI president said trial run would begin in April and the facility would go commercial in the last quarter of 2008. The plant would see an investment of $320 million and have a capacity to churn out 1.40 lakh units annually.
Slym is confident of the company continuing its growth momentum in the current year as well. "We sold 60,031 units in 2007, an increase of 68 per cent over 35,823 units in 2006. We hope to sell 90,000 units in 2008," he stated.