16/02/2015 4:51 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

General Motors India Trying To Reduce Huge Losses, Raise Exports

General Motors CEO Mary Barra talks about the 2016 Chevrolet Volt hybrid car at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

NEW DELHI – General Motors has found India a tough market to crack. The American automaker’s losses in India have ballooned, and it is now making a push to counter that through more exports and fresh car models.

"We have achieved substantial progress last year in India in terms of cutting down our losses. We further plan to improve in the coming years," India President and Managing Director Arvind Saxena told reporters in New Delhi. The company has invested over a billion dollars in India since 1996, but losses have risen to Rs 2,740 crore in the same time.

Saxena wants to increase exports, and launch two new models in India viz., Chevrolet Trailblazer this year, and Chevrolet Spin in 2016. That alone is unlikely to lift the company’s fortunes in India, and Saxena is also working on fixing exports that have stayed low. "We exported 984 units last year to Chile. This year we are looking at exporting 19,000 units to over 30 plus countries, including Chile and Mexico," Saxena said.

The company, which started exporting to Chile from September last year, is looking at shipments of Beat and Spark models to overseas destinations. "For 2016, we have set an export target of 40,000 units," Saxena said.

The company’s launches have been slower than competitors in the higher-end segments, and new introductions are much needed. Trailblazer is expected to be in a higher price range, and will be imported from Thailand. That’s similar to its strategy with the SUV Captiva, which was also imported as a fully built unit.

The Spin, which would have 60-70 percent of local components, will be manufactured in India, and the company will be hoping it brings in much higher sales. The company will also launch updated versions of its existing models such as Spark, Beat, and Tavera.

In the US, the company has faced problems with multiple recalls of its vehicles and has spent $2.9 billion on recalls and loaner cars in 2014, after calling back 36 million vehicles for repairs worldwide.

(With agency inputs)

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