General Motors is planning to start exporting cars from its manufacturing facilities in India. The two plants at Talegaon, Maharashtra and Halol, Gujarat have a combined capacity of 2.82 lakh units per annum. Currently GM only exports auto components and cars in very limited numbers to neighbouring markets like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and plans to add other markets like South-East Asia, Gulf, South Africa and Europe to the list.
Lowell Paddock, president and MD of GM India said, "Export out of India is an attractive proposition. India has a skilled workforce, strong supplier base and strong engineering skills. The countries earmarked for exports are yet to be firmed up." The Talegaon plant in Maharashtra produces the hatchbacks Beat and Sail U-VA as well as Sail sedan. Despite having an annual capacity of 1.6 lakh units, the plant is currently limited to only 40 per cent of the capacity due to low demand in the market.
P. Balendran, vice-president of GM said that a board decision to export cars has been adopted but details were yet to be worked out. "We haven't yet decided on the models, number of cars or the markets to which they will be exported. These will be firmed up by the end of this fiscal to facilitate exports next fiscal," he added. The recently launched Beat facelift, which is by far the largest selling car in the company’s Indian lineup, is expected to be the first car to be exported to foreign markets followed by the Sail U-VA.
The Indian auto industry has been facing a negative growth for some time now and Chevrolet is one of the hardest hit companies. In such a condition, it only seems logical that the company puts the idle or surplus capacity to some use. Many international car makers have been doing this for quite some time now, making India one of the biggest exporters for the RHD markets.