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GM shortlists small car plant sites in India

February 02, 2006 05:49 IST
A high-level General Motors team from the US this week visited a few sites for setting up the company's small car (Chevrolet Spark) manufacturing facility. The finalisation of the site is expected in a fortnight.

"GM has shortlisted sites in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra for the Chevrolet Spark project. The company will be announcing its plans in two weeks," said sources close to GM India.

The company would be investing Rs 2,000-2,500 crore in setting up the new facility, which will make 1.5-2 lakh cars, said the sources.

A location in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra would be advantageous to GM, as the states are home to a host of automakers like Tata Motors and Fiat (Maharashtra), and Hyundai and Ford (Tamil Nadu).

There is also a cluster of auto component makers spread near the facilities of these companies. Moreover, a proximity to ports in both the states would help the company in exports.

Following its acquisition of the global assets of the Korea-based Daewoo a few years ago, General Motors had been keen on acquiring erstwhile Daewoo India's Surajpur facility in Uttar Pradesh, which was taken over by the lenders of Daewoo India.

However, after a long wait of over two years, in October 2005, GM dropped its plans to buy Daewoo India's plant owing to the government's inordinate delay in reaching an out-of-the-court settlement with the lenders and Arcil, an asset reconstruction fund overseeing the sale of the property.

Failure of the Daewoo plan made GM consider expanding its existing facility at Halol in Gujarat to accommodate the small car project. But, the company finally arrived at a plan of setting up a greenfield facility for small cars.

Chevrolet Spark is the facelifted version of the erstwhile Daewoo Matiz. The Spark L, LS, and LT are three variants of Spark launched by Chevrolet globally. In China, Spark is sold as Buick.

The Spark L is powered by an 800 cc three-cylinder fuel-injected engine, producing 37.5 kw of power at 5,900 rpm and 68.6 Nm of torque at 4,600 rpm. The Spark LS and LT are powered by a 1-litre four-cylinder SOHC engine that delivers 48.5 kw at 5,400 rpm and 87.3 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm.

Prabodh Chandrasekhar in Mumbai
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