A day before the start of Auto Expo here, General Motors on Monday launched its much-awaited global mini-car Chevrolet Beat in India. Priced between Rs. 3.34 lakh and Rs. 3.94 lakh, the 1.2 litre petrol car will be available in three variants, delivering 80.5 PS power and 18.6 km per litre mileage (under test conditions).

“With its best-in-segment design, performance and safety, the Beat is destined to become an industry benchmark. Aimed at meeting the highest quality and performance standards in the most sophisticated markets in a competitive environment, the global vehicle was put through over 10-lakh km of intensive durability tests in extreme weather conditions and crash tests both in India and abroad,” General Motors India President and Managing Director Karl Slym said after unveiling the new car.

Beat is the second car from GM’s 300 series platform following the launch of its utility vehicle Chevrolet Cruze last year. With the Beat, the U.S. automaker now has three compact cars in its portfolio — Spark, UVa and now Beat. He also said that GM would be launching the diesel version of the Beat by the end of this year once the company started producing brand new powertrain. About the company’s sales, Mr. Slym said it hoped to cross one-lakh units in 2010, up from over 70,000 in 2009. “Beat would become our volume seller as it is very competitively priced and will give best value for money to our customers,” he added. At present, its entry-level model Spark sells over 4,000 units a month, but Beat would do over 5,000 units a month, he added.

Mr. Slym further said that the export of Beat, which is being manufactured at the company’s Talegaon plant in Maharashtra, would begin later this year. “The car will be exported to Korea, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin American nations. About 20 per cent of Beat’s production would be exported,” he said, adding that it would be launched across 150 countries in the coming months. GM is also working on a small car completely designed in India. “We are now developing vehicles for India at the Bangalore centre and the focus is more on small cars as India is basically a small car market,” said GM Vice-President (Global Design) Edward T. Welburn.

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