General Motors India has announced it will begin exporting vehicles from India to surrounding markets during the second quarter of this year. The Chevrolet Beat minicar will be the first export model, headed for Chile where it will go on sale at the beginning of 2015.
The decision to export models to other countries comes after a recent downturn in the Indian Automotive Market. In a statement, GM India President Arvind Saxena said the move “demonstrates the quality of the country’s growing supplier base,” but that it was also made to compensate for declining sales and to create and sustain employment opportunities in the country.
“The exports will create more employment opportunities within GM India and the supplier community while helping improve capacity utilization at the Talegaon plant,” Saxena said.
Many international automakers, including GM, rushed into the Indian market when it was still growing at a large rate, but have recently experienced declining growth in the region. According to Automotive News, passenger vehicle sales in India fell 6 percent year over year to a little more than 2.5 million vehicles last year. This past April, sales fell another 10 percent year over year.
AN also points out the negative effect this has had on capacity. GM has one of the lowest capacity utilization rates in India. Between its two factories in the region there is a total capacity of 283,000 units, but the automaker used just 28 percent of that last year.
The left-hand drive Beat that will be exported is to be built at India’s Talegon Plant. The Beat has so far been one of the brand’s most popular nameplates in India, and Chevy is hoping to continue this trend when it is introduced in Chile.