General Motors will commence shipping vehicles from India in the second half of 2014, as the carmaker bids to use more of its local capacity and offset the a slump in the domestic vehicle market. GM’s Indian operation will first export the left-hand-drive version of the Chevrolet Beat minicar -- labeled as the Spark in the United States – to Chile in the first quarter of 2015.
The Beat will be built at GM’s Talegaon plant in India. The Beat is currently GM’s best-selling nameplate in India after launching the minicar in the country in 2010.
GM India President Arvind Saxena said in a statement that the decision to export vehicles from the country reflects higher level of confidence in the quality of local supply base. He added that move is also made to offset slumping sales, keep the carmaker’s Telegaon plant churning out products and create more employment opportunities.
Passenger vehicle sales in India dropped 6 percent in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014, to just over 2.5 million vehicles, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. Sales in the month of April also declined 10 percent.
The auto industry in India only utilized 55 percent of its production capacity in 2013, according to India’s ETAuto.com. GM operates two sites in India for a total capacity of 282,000 vehicles, only used 28 percent, ETAuto.com reported, citing data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
GM’s rate was considered the lowest among carmakers in India. Hyundai was the most efficient carmaker in India in terms of capacity utilization, at 91 percent.
Ford’s rate was 67 percent, Honda’s was 56 percent, Toyota’s was 50 percent and Volkswagen’s was 43 percent. Local carmakers Mahindra and Tata have utilization rates of 38 percent and 33 percent, respectively. [source: GM]