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China’s Great Wall Motors to acquire GM’s India plant

NEW DELHI:  China’s biggest SUV player Great Wall Motors, who is all set to make an entry in the Indian automobile market, has reached an agreement with US auto major General Motors (GM), which had bid adeu to the domestic market in 2017, for sale of GM India’s Talegaon manufacturing facility, subject to requisite government and regulatory approvals.

The two companies have not disclosed the value of transaction. Great Wall Motors (GWM) will debut its Haval brand and GWM electric vehicle at the Delhi International Auto Show, where it will unveil its plan for the Indian market.

Great Wall’s move to enter the Indian passenger vehicle market comes at a time when auto sales in the domestic market have fallen drastically, with most of the foreign players struggling to stay relevant.However, the recent entrants – MG Motor and Kia Motors – have fared well in terms of sales during the prolonged slowdown.

“The Indian market has great potential, rapid economic growth and a good investment environment. Entering the Indian market is an important step for Great Wall Motors’ global strategy,” said Liu Xiangshang, vice-president (global strategy), GWM.

He added that company’s investment will create more jobs, including direct and indirect employment, further enhancing the skill level in auto industry. With the fresh announcement, Great Wall became the second Chinese automobile player, after SAIC-owned MG Motor, to enter India’s passenger vehicle market by acquiring a General Motors plant. MG Motor had invested around Rs 2,200 crore to acquire General Motors’ plant in Halol, Gujarat.

According to Julian Blissett, vice-president (international operations), General Motors, “…GM has been exploring strategic options for the better utilisation of the (Talegaon) site.”

He added that GM’s decision to cease production at the plant is based on the company’s global strategy and optimisation of its manufacturing footprint around the world. GM’s Talegaon plant had an installed capacity to roll out 1,65,000 vehicles a year, along with production of 1,60,000 engine units.