September sales: GM’s 22-year India journey ends; Nano remains a no-no for buyers

General Motors has made a full exit from the country after the last of its Chevrolets were handed over to consumers last month, while Tata Nano saw its worst-ever sales in September clocking just 124 units.


Twenty two years after selling its first locally built car in India, General Motors has made a full exit from the country after the last of its Chevrolets were handed over to consumers last month.Dealers of General Motors (GM) were engaged in liquidating their inventory since May this year, which is when the US-headquartered company announced a total exit from India while also stating that it will now focus only on exports.

As per the earlier announcement, General Motors would continue to sell Chevrolet cars till the end of 2017 in order to help its beleaguered group of dealers clear up their inventories.

However, with dwindling sales its dealers were forced to offer huge discounts to get rid of the stock. Globally, GM is rerouting focus to China where it is the second largest car maker behind Volkswagen.

Despite several attempts, the company failed to get a foothold in the Indian car market with the exception of a few models such as Opel Astra, Chevrolet Beat and Cherolet Tavera bringing in volumes.

Last month also marked the sale of GM’s first car plant in India to Morris Garages (MG), a subsidiary of China’s largest car maker SAIC, which has promised to invest Rs 2,000 crore in the facility. The plant in Gujarat’s Halol which GM set up with help from Hindustan Motors, will start producing cars again in 2019.

Meanwhile, Tata Nano saw its worst-ever sales last month clocking just 124 units even as stakeholders’ concerns mount over its economic viability. The loss-making car’s previous low came in June when it sold 167 units.

During the six months ended September, the mini car saw sales slump to just 1,436 units much lower than what Mercedes-Benz clocked with the E Class, the highest-selling luxury car in India.

While Tata Motors has reengineered its Nano-producing Sanand plant in Gujarat to accommodate other models such as Tiago and Tigor, the company has shared no definite timeline of phasing out the struggling car.

Tata’s next generation models such as Tiago, Tigor, Hexa and Nexon make up more than 80 percent of its monthly volumes. Older and low volume products such as Nano, Indica, Indigo and Sumo may be pulled out from the market given the company’s focus on new models built using two all-new platforms.

Tata Nexon

Tata Motors chairman N Chandrasekaran in a recent interview said that losses on the Nano are minuscule(about 4 percent) and keeping the product under continuous production will not entail significant investments.

India has adopted its first vehicle crash test norm since October 1, 2017 for new models. Existing models will have to be upgraded to meet those norms from October 1, 2018. Tata Motors has refused to comment if the Nano will meet those norms.

The company has not been able to pull the plug on the Nano or the Indica for unexplained reasons. Both cars, separated by a decade, have seen close involvement of Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata.

Recent reports stated that the Nano could get a new lease of life with the addition of an electric motor. However, plans have been afoot to have an all-electric Nano since the past several years.


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