When you want to make and sell cars in India, you don’t need a joint venture partner. Except when you are GM. In the dark days of December 2009, GM cut a deal with Chinese partner SAIC, gave them half of its India business and a golden share in China for much needed cash. SAIC underwrote a $400 million loan when GM was out of money. Now, India is flooded with Chinese cars bearing the Chevrolet badge.
GM began initial production of the Chevrolet Sail, its “first ever Chinese-designed car for the Indian market,” writes Reuters. Officially, the small Sail was designed by GM’s PATAC tech center in Shanghai. Reuters says that car was “designed by GM’s Chinese partner SAIC” instead., and it claims Lowell Paddock, President of GM India as the source. He is full of praise for its Chinese partner:
“”What SAIC brings to us is more of a regional focus and more of an emerging market focus. Sail is in some ways perhaps the first vehicle designed with primarily Asian customer requirements.”
Another Chinese design will follow shortly. The Chevrolet MPV Concept is a rebadged GM-Wuling Hong Guang microvan.
According to Reuters “GM needs a shot in the arm” in India. GM’s India sales fell 11 percent in the first six months of 2012, while the market rose 10 percent.