General Motors India (GM) on Friday inaugurated its new flexible-engine facility at Talegaon near Pune. This is GM's first powertrain plant in the world that enables both petrol and diesel engines to be manufactured simultaneously.

The facility represents investment in excess of $230 million and while it has an initial annual production capacity of 1.60 lakh engines, it is designed to accommodate future expansion. The new plant will produce engines for small passenger cars of the company in India and has come up in under two years.

Speaking at the ceremony, GM India President and Managing Director Karl Slym said, “This marks the beginning of GM's next chapter in India. The opening of our new facility will enable our company to become more competitive and keep up with the growing demand for our vehicles. GM India's sales have grown significantly since we began rolling out our mini-cars, the Chevrolet Spark and Beat, at our Talegaon plant about two years back.”

On August 28, 2008, GM signed an agreement with the Maharashtra Government for the construction of a new engine plant adjacent to its vehicle manufacturing facility. Construction started in December 2008, with pilot production commencing in March 2010. The engine plant complements GM's vehicle manufacturing facilities in Talegaon and Halol, Gujarat, and the GM Technical Centre in Bangalore, which is carrying out a range of engineering, design and R&D activities.

General Motors India has completed 14 years of operation and today offers a range of products under the Chevrolet brand, which was introduced in India in 2003. In addition to the Chevrolet Spark and Beat, it produces Captiva, Optra, Cruze, Aveo, Aveo U-VA, and Tavera.

GM is now the fifth-largest automobile manufacturer in India and in the first 10 months of 2010, sold 93,960 vehicles, which represents a growth of 73 per cent from the same period last year. It has 211 sales points and 205 service outlets in 178 cities across India, and has embarked upon an ambitious rural marketing initiative to further boost sales. In February 2010, GM and its Chinese partner SAIC opened a joint venture in India for cooperation in vehicle manufacturing and sales.

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