GM CEO Barra Thinks India’s Middle Class Is A Great Opportunity For Chevrolet - Overdrive
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GM CEO Barra thinks India's middle class is a great opportunity for Chevrolet

12 Sep 2014 / 0

General Motors has not, so far, found the sort of success the potential and scale of the Indian automotive market should have brought. Despite numerous attempts to reduce cost of ownership and a slew of products, GM has remained a minor player in the Indian market. A situation, that GM would like to fix, naturally.

Mary Barra, the new CEO of GM recently visited India with a high voltage entourage consisting of Tim Solso, non-executive chairman of the GM Board of Directors, Stefan Jacoby, executive vice president and president, GM International and Chuck Stevens, GM executive vice president and chief financial officer. Barra met with GM India president and MD, Arvind Saxena and this group of powerful GM executives visited GM facilities and met various stakeholders like the employees, suppliers and government officials over three days from September 9 to 11, 2014.

The rest of the media release, though says little. Barra according to the press release noted that, “With a relatively small vehicle population and rapidly growing, young middle class, India is expected to become one of the world’s three largest markets by 2020.” A market of this size that almost continues to ignore Chevrolet’s cars is clearly a cause for concern for the formerly world number one carmaker. Barra also said, “India represents a great opportunity for Chevrolet.”

GM_CEO_Mary_Barra_and_GM_India_President_&_Managing_Director_Arvind_Saxena_roll_out_the_first_Chevrolet_Beat_for_export_from_the_GM_Talegaon_manufacturing_facility_in_Maharashtra.

GM has so far invested roughly a billion US dollars in India with two plants in Halol, Gujarat and Talegaon, Maharasthra. These plants can produce as many as 2.8 lakh vehicles annually. However, GM is currently languishing at roughly 2 per cent market share and its sales have been falling with the August 2014 numbers reporting less than 5,000 units dispatched.

And since Barra was present for the production of Beat that is supposed to be GM India’s first export vehicle, GM India’ s sales, both domestic and international can clearly use some help.

Barra said, “GM is working to better understand the Indian market so we can give Indian customers what they deserve – safe, high quality Chevrolet vehicles with exceptional designs that exceed expectations.”

Jacoby is to address the SIAM today (Friday) and he said, “GM remains open to the long-term prospects for India and its automotive industry,” said Jacoby. “However, we are going in with our eyes wide open to ensure that our investment is good for India and good for General Motors.”

GM India has yet to produce a single product for India that works as a reliable volume seller and it’s clear the GM global has woken up to the fact that it cannot afford to ignore a market with such immense potential. Hopefully, Barra and her high-ranking colleagues can come up with a solution that will finally give GM the fortune it came to India seeking.

GM CEO Mary Barra visits India

Barra: India Auto Market Creates a Great Opportunity for Chevrolet
GM CEO cites potential buying power of growing middle class
NEW DELHI – In her continuing efforts to exceed customer expectations, GM CEO Mary Barra visited India Sept. 9-11 to visit key stakeholders throughout the country.

“India represents a great opportunity for Chevrolet,” Barra said. “With a relatively small vehicle population and rapidly growing, young middle class, India is expected to become one of the world’s three largest markets by 2020.

“GM is working to better understand the Indian market so we can give Indian customers what they deserve -- safe, high quality Chevrolet vehicles with exceptional designs that exceed expectations.”

GM has invested about $1 billion in India to date. Its Talegaon and Halol facilities can produce more than 280,000 vehicles per year. The GM Technical Center-India is carrying out local and global engineering projects, and GM India’s growing lineup of Chevrolet models is sold through the company’s nationwide dealer network.

Barra, accompanied by Tim Solso, non-executive chairman of the GM Board of Directors; Stefan Jacoby, executive vice president and president, GM International; Chuck Stevens, GM executive vice president and chief financial officer; and, Arvind Saxena, GM India president and managing director, visited GM facilities and met with employees, suppliers and government leaders during her three-day visit that concluded Thursday.

During a Wednesday visit to the Talegaon manufacturing facility in Pune, Barra participated in the celebration of the production of the first Chevrolet vehicle for export. Vehicles initially will be exported to Chile starting later this year.

Meeting with several of GM India’s top suppliers in Pune, Barra discussed opportunities for global sourcing and improved partnerships as GM continues to localize its supply base and make greater use of products manufactured in India.

The GM leadership team also visited Chevrolet dealerships to further understand the market momentum, customer preferences and network performance.

On Thursday, Barra met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, congratulating Modi on his recent victory and thanking him for supporting the growth of GM India.

On Friday, Jacoby addresses the annual convention of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers in New Delhi, where he will discuss the positive economic impact of the automotive industry and its importance for markets such as India.

“GM remains open to the long-term prospects for India and its automotive industry,” said Jacoby. “However, we are going in with our eyes wide open to ensure that our investment is good for India and good for General Motors.”


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