By on January 6, 2012

In GM’s darkest hour, in December 2009, GM and SAIC cut a strange deal: GM ceded control of the 50:50 China joint venture by selling 1 percent to SAIC. GM also transferred half of GM’s India operations to the Chinese company. GM received a $400 million line of credit. SAIC received access to the Indian market, which it had coveted, but the Indians had sworn to keep the Chinese out. Now they rode in on GM’s coattails.

At the New Delhi auto expo, GM India yesterday “unveiled the first two products from its joint venture with SAIC,” while our friends of were in attendance to snap pictures. As announced two years ago, the first products are of the “small trucks and passenger cars” variant, but not much else survived the test of time.

The passenger car is not the Nano-killing $3,500 sub-Spark model that was dreamt up by the Indian press last year, and the truck is no cheap Wuling.

The car is a “Chevrolet Sail premium hatchback,” and the truck is a big 8-seater MPV, spacious enough for big Indians with big families.

Not much else is available officially on the two cars. The Sail will have “GM India’s latest Smartech engines,” in both gasoline and diesel engines (but wait until you read which one.) Speaking of fuel, it is housed in a fuel tank in the middle of the car, surrounded by “steel beam-rolling ribs” and the members of the family.

The MPV is just a concept. It has input from Lotus, which worked with GM India “for more than a year and a half to tune the chassis.”

The choice of diesel engines is interesting: According to Motorbeam, the diesel engine both for the Sail and the MPV concept will get a 1.3 liter FIAT diesel engine. This is not in the official press release.

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3 Comments on “GM Shows First Fruits Of Indian JV With China’s SAIC...”

  • avatar

    FIAT engine or VM-Motori engine?

    • 0 avatar

      Fiat and GM jointly developed Diesel engines couple of years back, so one of it would be used. Already Chevrolet Beat which is sold in India uses a 1 liter Diesel engine which was jointly developed with Fiat. AFAIK, GM can use these jointly developed engines without paying any royalty fees or licensing fees.

  • avatar

    The Motorbeam report about sourcing the engines with Fiat doesn’t make a lot of sense. Fiat does have an engine plant in India, but then so does GM, purpose built for a variety of low-displacement engines (up to 1.5L). It just opened last year and is capable of building both gasoline and diesel engines.

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