Friday, June 5, 2009

India plans on track: General Moters MD

General Motors India is one of the key assets of GM Corp globally and will remain part of the restructured company after bankruptcy proceedings, country president and managing director Karl Slym told reporters here Friday.

"India operations are part of the new GM which will only include prime assets. We have invested over a billion dollars in the country and all our plans remain on track," Slym said.

"The bankruptcy proceedings and restructuring are the best way forward for GM," he told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of the LPG-powered variant of the company's compact offering Spark.

"We have President Obama's support."

The 100-year-old US auto behemoth, struggling under a $37-billion in debt, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings Monday after repeated attempts including a $19.4-billion bailout by the Obama government and the resignation of chief executive Rick Wagnor on a reported White House request failed to turn its fortunes.

"GM India is just one step from becoming a truly local manufacturer with the to-be-launched Chevrolet Cruise being built in India as opposed to the CKD (completely knocked down) units being assembled now," Slym added.

Among other plans, the auto maker is setting up a powertrain facility at its Talegaon plant in Maharashtra that is planned to be up by 2010-end, as well as launching a new compact.

The new offering , priced in the region of Rs.400,000, is based on the Chevrolet Beat concept showcased at the 2007 New York Auto show.

GM India has a 4,000-strong workforce at its two plants at Talegaon and Halol in Gujarat, apart from an R&D facility and engineering centre in Bangalore.

"Our commitment to India and out customers remain strong. We are sure that after about 60 days when the proceedings are over we will come out as a stronger entity," Slym said.

The LPG variant of the Spark was launched to coincide with the World Environment Day Friday. It comes in two variants priced at Rs.352,586 and Rs.369,684 ex-Showroom in Delhi.

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