‘GM is deeply committed to Indian market’
GM India president and managing director Karl Slym, is heading the global motorcar giant’s India arm in tough times, reports Suprotip Ghosh.business Updated: Apr 14, 2009 23:27 IST
GM India president and managing director Karl Slym, is heading the global motorcar giant’s India arm in tough times. While the Obama administration in the US is clear that it wants a reborn General Motors, buyers in countries like India are apprehensive, because they do not know whether their cars are going to be serviced tomorrow. In an interview with Suprotip Ghosh, the British head of GM India speaks about GM India’s plans, and whether the buyer should be scared.
According to an HT report, after growing 6.7 per cent during April-October 2008, GM India sales plummeted 25.3 per cent during November 2008-March 2009 on news of bankruptcy filing. Why have the sales fallen?
There has been a drop for all manufacturers from October because of lack of market liquidity, lack of financing and recession. When the industry registered a negative growth (-2 per cent) in 2008, we registered a growth of over 9.4 per cent. With the government coming out with some fiscal and monetary measures, the market has started showing up. We sold 3,937 units in January, 4,921 in February and 5,001 in March. This means we have been consistently growing.
Are you concerned with GM’s bankruptcy proceedings in the US?
The bankruptcy proceedings, if at all it takes place, are for the reorganisation of the US operations of GM. In the US, bankruptcy or Chapter 11 is used to make a brand more stronger to suit the changing business environment.Therefore, it will only make GM stronger than before.
Should the Indian buyer be concerned?
GM has invested over $1 billion (more than Rs 5,000 crore) in India till date and is deeply committed to this market, its customers, suppliers, dealers and all its stakeholders to continuing its rapid story of successful growth in India. Over 4,000 people are directly employed at our operations at Halol, Talegaon, Bangalore and Gurgaon.We are here to stay.
What are GM India’s plans for the future?
We have made the required investments in India. We are launching two more cars this year — the Cruze (around Rs 12 to 14 lakh, and the new small car (around Rs 4 to 5 lakh). This is in addition to LPG and CNG options in some of the existing models.
What about the effects of the bankruptcy proceedings on India?
It will not have any immediate impact on Indian operations. The bankruptcy proceedings, if at all it takes place, are for the reorganisation of the US operations of GM.
But GM is the parent of GM India…
We are independent in terms of operations here. We get sourcing support from GM Korea. We have our own plants, an engine line, a stamping line.