After failing to ignite much interest for its cars in the domestic market, General Motors India had some time ago shifted its focus on exports to better utilise the manufacturing capacity investments made in the country.
Now, the company’s renewed strategy seems to have reaped some benefits as the Chevrolet Beat, which is sold as the Spark in many countries globally, has become one of the most exported cars from the country in the ongoing fiscal year 2016-17.
According to the latest export statistics, GM India has shipped over 24,000 units of the hatchback between April-August 2016, making it the fourth most exported car from India. Ford India with the EcoSport tops the list with over 35,000 units shipped, followed by the Nissan Micra with more than 31,000 units and the Volkswagen Vento with over 29,000 units in the fiscal so far.
The Beat, which is badged as the Spark outside India, is available in more than 70 markets worldwide and has sold over a million units. It is manufactured at GM India’s Talegaon facility in Maharashtra, which has a manufacturing capacity of 130,000 vehicles. GM India began its first vehicle exports from India to Chile in September 2014.
“In 2016, we plan to export over 50,000 vehicles, compared with 21,000 vehicles last calendar year, reinforcing our commitment to the Indian market and our strong local supplier base. This is part of GM’s strategy to make India an export hub for global markets and will help increase capacity utilisation at our Talegaon plant. We expect to identify additional export markets going forward,” GM India’s MD Kaher Kazem had said earlier this year.
Give the current pace of exports, GM India looks to be on track to achieve its target as well. So far in September itself, the carmaker has shipped over 3,300 units, with a majority to Latin American markets, primarily Mexico.
Meanwhile, even as the carmaker is ramping up exports of the Beat globally, domestic sales have been underwhelming. The carmaker has only managed to sell 3,797 units in India so far in the fiscal.
Another concern for the India-made car is the poor Latin NCAP rating revealed in the latest tests conducted by the safety watchdog. The car, which is sold as the Spark GT in Latin America, has scored a zero-star rating for both adult and child occupants. Will the latest crash results have any bearing on the demand and the pace of exports from GM India? Only time would tell. Stay tuned to Autocar Professional for the latest developments on the export front.
Also read: India-made Chevrolet Beat fails Latin NCAP tests