US auto major General Motors on Monday launched the diesel version of its small car Beat with a price ranging between Rs4.3 lakh and Rs 5.5 lakh in a bid to revive sagging sales of the small car that has for long been battered by the shift in consumer demand for diesel cars.
The Beat is powered by a small 936-cc engine, in what is one of the smallest diesel motors used in a passenger car around the world. It is however, not the cheapest diesel car in India, which still remains the Tata Indica.
“The petrol variant of the Beat has done as well as any other petrol car in that segment but the shift in demand for diesel cars due to the rising price differential of the two fuels has led to a decline in its sales,” said Karl Slym, president, General Motors India. “Now that we have the diesel variant, I expect 70% of the sales to be accounted for by it. In all this car should sell around 5,000 units a month.”
Beat was the first car to be launched by GM India after China’s SAIC took over half the ownership of the company in late 2010 and despite a solid start, sales had tapered off as competition led by rival Ford’s Figo ate into its tally. In 2010, 36,264 units of the car were sold in India against 59,967 units of the Figo and 1,42,549 units of market leader Maruti Swift. This year so far, only 15,713 units of the car could be sold as against Figo’s 42,744 and Swift's 67,235 units.