General Motors India, faced with steep fall in sales and an ongoing product recall, is in a introspective and self-correction mode. “We need to understand what we have done (that is) not right for this market,” Stefan Jacoby, president, consolidated international operations, GM told Hindustan Times.
The US auto giant, an early entrant into the post-liberal Indian market, is languishing at the bottom of the sales chart with a bare 2% market share despite 18 years of operations. To add to the challenge, GM had to recall 114,000 units of its utility vehicle, Tavera, after it failed to meet emission norms.
Jacoby, who took over as the global head of GM’s international operations in August, said the company is collaborating with the government on the recall. “We have been doing the recall for the past eight weeks and we are approximately 10% through,” he said.
About GM’s inability to find traction in India, Jacoby said: “Others are profitable and others are gaining market share. Others are introducing the right products. I think we did not truly understand the dynamics of the market.”
“Despite our manufacturing footprint here, we have not taken any step in truly localising our production and utilising the lowcost supplier base we have here. We need to fix that and it will take time,” he said.
Meanwhile, GM remained cautious on future investments and has put on hold its plans to enter the commercial vehicle segment in partnership with China-based SAIC. GM has invested over $1billion (more than Rs 6,000 crore) in India.
“The Indian economy is going through a difficult period and it is not fun to do investment here right now,” Jacoby said.
Lowell Paddock, MD, GM India, said the company would focus on the small car segment and the rural market. GM on Wednesday unveiled upgraded version of its Chevrolet Beat hatchback, priced at Rs 4-5.25 lakh (petrol), Rs 4.89-6.10 lakh (diesel)and Rs 4.59-5.05 (LPG).
GM also unveiled its compact sports utility vehicle concept, the Chevrolet Adra, which is some years away from production, to capitalise on the demand for small utility vehicles.