GM Launches New Small Car In India

Company hopes the Chevrolet Beat will hit sales of 100,000 units in 2010

On Jan. 4, General Motors launched a new small car priced at about $7,000. It will be released first in the Indian market and eventually sold in 150 countries.

The Chevrolet Beat is a compact hatchback aimed at the growing Indian middle classes that GM hopes will help boost its sales in the country by 30% this year to 100,000 units.

Slym also said GM India would double production at its Talegaon plant in the western state of Maharashtra to 90,000 cars per year because of the Beat's introduction.

The company said its sales in December more than doubled to 8,258 vehicles, the highest ever in a month since it started selling cars in the country in 1996.

On the eve AutoExpo 2010 in New Delhi, which kicks off on Jan. 5, GM India chief Karl Slym admitted the Beat would enter an increasingly competitive market where foreign manufacturers are jostling for position in the small car segment. "There is a competitive market in India," Slym said. "There are more and more players coming in with different capabilities."

Small cars account for 80% of passenger car sales in India. Indian car sales are expected to cross two million units in 2010.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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