While it is quite unfortunate that General Motors should quit selling its range of products in the Indian market due to poor cars which the Indian mindset could never associate with the brand and poorer marketing techniques, there is always a silver lining.
After looking at various options to setup a manufacturing facility here in India, SAIC Motor, China’s largest carmaker has finally confirmed that it is going to enter the crowded and tough Indian market. SAIC Motors will start selling its cars in India under the MG brand, the iconic British marque which was acquired by SAIC more than a decade back. The Indian subsidiary of SAIC has been even registered under the name MG Motor India and is to be headed by former GM India CEO Rajeev Chaba. Very few companies have started their career in India by appointing an Indian CEO and that’s a good sign.
It is understood that SAIC was impressed by Mr. Chaba’s potential and was chosen to perform this role during the initial stages of the project. He has been appointed as the Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, for GM China, SAIC’s joint venture partner, between July 2011 to July 2013. In fact, he was the only CEO to have delivered profit for GM India during 2005-06; another feather in his cap. Another veteran of GM, P. Balendran has been appointed by SAIC as the executive director.
SAIC has very clearly confirmed that all of its products in India will come under the MG badge. SAIC might also tap into products from MG’s other sister brands such as Maxus and Roewe. SAIC might also tap into other joint venture brands such as Baojun as well. The first product roll out is expected to be around 2019. Being a market with a liking for SUVs, SAIC might be focusing more on the specific body style in India.
SAIC has been in talks with GM to acquire its plant in Halol, Gujarat and use the same for its range of products. However, the same is yet to get finalized. In a statement in April, SAIC said the company “continues to evaluate various options to set up a car manufacturing plant in India”.
“SAIC’s Halol plant deal is subject to GM’s submission of all government approvals, settlement of labour and all other pending issues by GM,” the statement added. Once the plant is finalised, SAIC is expected to pump in investment to the tune of Rs.3000 crores for its first phase of Indian operations. “We are in India for the long term and are confident of establishing a strong presence in the market,” said an SAIC official, during the Shanghai Auto Show last April.
We at MotorWorldIndia wish SAIC and its MG Brand a successful stint in India.