GM Seeks to Reverse India Decline With Chevrolet Models

General Motors Co. is banking on a line of new locally produced Chevrolet models to arrest a decline in its sales in India.

The company will invest $1 billion in Chevrolet in India and roll out 10 new models in the next five years, GM said in a statement. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday she sees “much more” growth in India for GM, and the total car market may grow to about 8 million units by 2025.

The investments are being announced at a time when demand for passenger vehicles in India is waning, with deliveries declining in June for the first time in eight months. Vikram Kirloskar, president of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, said this month that there is lot of excess capacity in factories.

GM, which was among the first foreign carmakers to enter India two decades back, has failed to capitalize on its early entry and lost market share in recent years to Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. and Hyundai Motor Co.

The world’s third-biggest automaker’s share of passenger vehicles sold in India slid to 2 percent in the 12 months ended March, from 3.2 percent a year earlier, according to the association’s data. That was a fifth straight annual drop in market share.

GM said it’s going to close one of its two factories in Asia’s third-biggest auto market. The factory at Halol, located in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, will be closed in the second half of next year. The capacity at its second factory, located at Talegaon in the western state of Maharashtra, will be increased to 220,000 units.

Management Changes

The company earlier this month appointed Kaher Kazem, managing director of GM Uzbekistan, as the chief operating officer for its operations in South Asian nation. It also hired Hardeep Singh Brar from Volkswagen AG to lead sales.

GM, which was ranked No. 8 among carmakers for local sales and No. 11 for exports, said in February that it would export 19,000 cars to 40 countries in 2015. In the year ended March, it shipped 2,011 cars from India, according to data from the automakers association.

Barra, who met with Modi earlier Wednesday, said she’s confident that Chevrolet will be sustainably profitable in India. The brand will target to export 40,000 units from the country by next year.

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