Citing unnamed sources, 21st Century Business Herald reports that minivan maker SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW) — one of GM’s China-based joint ventures — was planning on buying into The General’s India operations.
The talks, according to the source, have been put on hold due to GM’s recent restructuring of its international operations. In November of 2013, The General split off China from the GM International Operations (GMIO) geographic business unit, thereby making China a new and independent geographic business unit. That has left GMIO comprised of Africa, Southeast Asia, India, South Korea and the Middle East.
Currently, General Motors owns 44 percent of SAIC-GM-Wuling, while SAIC Motor Corp. — the largest auto group by sales volume in China — has a 50 percent stake; Liuzhou Wuling Motors Co. owns the remaining 6 percent. The 21st Century report stated that GM’s India operations incurred a loss of over $200 million in 2013 — which is not surprising given the continuous sales slump The General has been experiencing in the region.
Back in 2009, General Motors partnered with SAIC to become more successful in the Indian market. The resulting Hong Kong-based 50-50 joint venture brought the Chevrolet Sail compact sedan and hatchback as well as the Enjoy MPV to India. The Sail was the result of a joint development project between GM-SAIC in China while the latter was a rebadged Wuling van developed without any GM involvement. To note, SAIC reduced its stake in the venture to seven percent in 2012, supposedly due to the partnership falling short of expectations. Given this turn of events, we’re unsure as to the reason SAIC and/or Wuling would want a bigger piece of GM’s already-small business in India. We’ll keep our ears to the ground and let you know if/as soon as we hear more.