German carmaker General Motors will start manufacturing Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) in India at its Halol facility in Gujarat from 2011, President of General Motors India, Karl Slym said here on Tuesday.

Slym told reporters on the sidelines of launch of its small car model Chevrolet Beat here.

“We get a choice of separate products now from our joint venture in China with SAIC, the first part of it is that we shall pick up LCVs from that portfolio, and secondly bring in three varieties of these vehicles to India at Halol,” Slym said.

“Our facility at Halol, having manufacturing capacity of 85,000 units, is capable of producing LCVs,” he said adding, “for which we are planning to start manufacturing in 2011.It’s very exciting as its going to be a whole new segment for us to begin with here,” Slym said.

“The LCVs manufactured in Halol are expected to be rolled out by 2011 end in India,” Director and vice-President GM, P. Balendran said.

In China, GM makes passenger cars with SAIC including the Buick and Chevrolet brands.

The joint venture of GM in China has sold more cars than those sold in the Indian markets.

“With the introduction of the LCV, GM expects to begin operations in three shifts at the Halol facility, and run the plant to optimum capacity,” Slym said.

The Gujarat based facility of GM at Halol started operating in two shifts in December last (2009).

GM currently has total 1,350 workers at its Halol facility and with the proposed third shift operations from 2011, it is expected to add around 500 workers, Slym said.

“Introduction of LCVs will open new avenues for the local suppliers too as we aim to localise 90 per cent manufacturing,” he added.

The first LCV will be like a pick-up van similar to Tata ACE, while the second one may be a Multi Activity Vehicle, and the third will be a van- somewhat similar to Versa, Balendran said.

In Gujarat, GM sold around 5,000 vehicles in 2008, while it sold 6,652 vehicles in 2009, thereby registering growth of 56 per cent, he added.

GM at present has 15 dealers and 16 service outlets in Gujarat and by the end of this year plans to put in 20 sales points and an equal number of authorised service outlets here, Balendran said.

GM sold over 70,000 units last year in India and expects fifty per cent increase in its sales this year to cross the 1 lakh mark, Slym said.

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