While 2014 was a good year for some automakers including Maruti Suzuki India, Hyundai, Honda etc, General Motors continued to lose its market share. One reason behind low sales could be weak economic conditions, the other reason probably is the lack of some really capable mass-segment products in GM India's line-up.
Other than the Tavera and Beat, no other product is doing any business for the carmaker. In fact, of the two aforementioned products, the Tavera is bought predominantly by taxi operators. So the point I am trying to make here is that GM doesn't have products in its Indian line-up that would excite or lure regular passenger car buyers.
That doesn't mean that GM didn't try to do anything at all, the launch of Chevy Sail-twins was an attempt in that direction. But it failed to create any buzz due to the dominance of Maruti Suzuki in both - sub-compact sedan and B hatchback - segments. So, where did GM lack? I think they, somehow, failed in pitching these products as aggressively as other players like Tata (in case of Zest), Hyundai and Honda.
So in my opinion, two things that General Motors need to work on are - launching some really good products in mass-segments and promoting them very aggressively.
One such product that I think can bring GM back on the track is the Adra compact SUV, which was showcased at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo in February. The product received quite an overwhelming response at the auto show, which shows that if priced well it can generate volumes for GM in India. We all are aware about the growing popularity of compact SUVs in India, and how it changed the fate of Renault, a comparatively younger brand than many other carmakers including GM. So a sub compact/compact SUV will be a safe bet for General Motors.
Talking about the Adra concept, it is based on General Motors's new global small-vehicle platform - the Gamma 2. Interestingly, the concept was entirely developed by Indian designers at GM's technical centre in Bangalore, India. Also, GM has an option to either use existing engine options from other cars sold in India - 1.3-litre diesel and 1.4-litre petrol - or use its new 1.2-litre, four-cylinder Ecotec engine that is known for delivering high performance and impressive fuel economy.
If reports are to believed GM is planning to launch its compact SUV by 2017, but I think that will be too late for the company to enter the segment. By 2017, the sub-compact segment will become as competitive as today's sub-compact sedan is. So, GM should fast rack its development and launch it on right time.
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