General Motors’ recent launches, the Sail twins and the Enjoy MPV were market duds in India. Despite revamping its product line-up, GM registered sagging sales in the last financial year. Moreover, the Tavera controversy and the worldwide recall issue has been an image disaster for the company, not to mention the mounting losses it has registered in a short span of time. Now, in a bid to resurrect the lost market share, GM is working on an all-new platform called ‘Amber’ that will spawn three new models.
The Amber platform is being built from scratch and will be underpinning vehicles from different segments which include a premium hatchback (Maruti Swift rival), a compact sedan (Maruti DZire rival) and a compact SUV (Ford EcoSport rival) for emerging markets like India, Brazil, Thailand, Russia and Mexico among others. The Amber platform is planned to be designed in Europe and engineering in Brazil, which play a dominant role in the project. GM is prioritising the compact SUV for India, which will be followed by a premium hatchback and a compact sedan.
The vehicles are most like to be launched in India and Brazil simultaneously or within a difference of six months. GM is eyeing a global potential of 1-1.2 million units annually from the Amber platform, with India contributing 1.5 lakh units. However, the platform won’t see the light of the day until 2018. With recurring losses and new products having failed in the market; it is really difficult to see GM sustain operations for the next four years without a new product in sight.
General Motors had earlier stated that its current focus will be on strengthening the brand status and restructuring the existing product line-up to improve market share in the country. In the last two years, the company’s market share fell from 4.18 percent in 2012 to 3 percent in FY2013-14. The decline in the market share came, despite the launch of the Sail twins and the Enjoy MPV, which were aimed to double the company’s volumes to 2 lakh units by the end of 2013.
The Amber project also raises the questions on the fate of the Adra Compact SUV concept that was showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo, earlier this year. Will GM continue with the concept or will it be scrapped completely is something uncertain at this point. If the Adra concept is still into play with the Amber platform, the launch will be delayed to 2018, while the current date was in 2017. Instead of delaying an entry into new segments, GM should considering bringing in the Sonic twins and Trax compact SUV.
GM is on damage control mode and is taking serious efforts to curb losses, improve customer satisfaction and the overall ownership experience. The company had incurred losses of Rs. 2740.48 crores by March 2013, but has been pouring in equity to keep the operations afloat. GM also refreshed its products recently and stated that the response has been encouraging. The company has also launched the Chevrolet complete care program which promises low cost maintenance.
Source – Economic Times