GM's Indian Spark a Damp Squib

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
gm s indian spark a damp squib

India's new car market is red hot. GM's Spark is not. As the Business Standard reports, "In the seven months between April and October this year, the Chevy Spark has managed to sell less than 12,000 units, or an average of 1,700 units a month, while its peers Alto and WagonR (Maruti Suzuki), Indica (Tata Motors) and Santro (Hyundai) have had average monthly sales of 10,000 – 18,000 units." Apparently, the Spark– a rebadged Daewoo Matiz– is a victim of GM's inability to move decisively (who'd a thunk?). Before GM took control of Daewoo in '01, the Daewoo Matiz– badged the Daewoo Matiz– had been India's best-selling car. Post-sale, The General dicked around trying to buy Daewoo’s assets in Surajpur, Uttar Pradesh. The deal went nowhere, leading to a five-year delay before the Spark's launch. And if that doesn't sound familiar (Camaro fans), how about this: "For 10 days in October, as a festival season offer, GM offered a massive discount of Rs 53,000 on the six-month old model, which got bookings for 12,000 units." Only capacity constraints at the Halol plant in Gujarat make timely delivery impossible. Never mind. GM's got big plans for the future, introducing six new Chevys from their Halol plant (85k capacity) and bringing its Talegaon plant (1.5m capacity) on-stream.

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  • Justin Berkowitz Justin Berkowitz on Dec 11, 2007

    What classic GM. Don't pay attention to now. We have big plans for the future. "Oh sorry, the ball is in my other hand."

  • SherbornSean SherbornSean on Dec 11, 2007

    India is a tough place to do business, given its insufficient infrastructure, and more-than-sufficient red tape. If GM sticks around, they'll do fine, as they have in China.

  • Ethanhunt123 Ethanhunt123 on Dec 12, 2007

    @SherbornSean India is a tough place to do business alrite. But not primarily due to red tape and infrastructure. Its coz customers wont take any BS about GM's brand name and will buy primarily on the strentgh and Value for Money of the product. Spark failed primarily due to its flawed pricing. It was priced higher than its primary competitors from Hyundai and Suzuki. Also, GM does not have the kind of after sales network that those two have.