Staff Reporter

GM is planning to make a foray into the small car segment in a big way

Kozhikode: The small Matiz car is being re-launched from the stables of General Motors India in mid April. The new version will be called Chevrolet Spark. The model would be swankier than that of the earlier version to compete with the small car segment in the country, said P. Balendran, director and vice-president (Corporate Affairs), during the official launch of the Chevrolet Aveo U-VA in Kozhikode on Monday.

The Indian wing of the South Korean Daewoo Motor Corporation used to manufacture the popular Matiz cars in the country. Incidentally General Motors has been manufacturing Daewoo Matiz as Chevrolet Spark in neighbouring China.

Mr. Balendran said the proposed compact car would take on the market at present dominated by Alto, Zen and Wagon R, Santro and Indica manufactured by Maruti, Hyundai and Tata Motors respectively.

The General Motors, which produces the Optra and Tavera, is planning to make a foray into the small car segment in a big way. "We are going to be aggressive in the market in the coming years. Our target is to capture 10 per cent of the market in 2010," he said.

The company already has a state-of-the-art plant at Halol near Baroda manufacturing 60,000 units a year.

Now the capacity of the plant is being increased to 80,000 units. Similarly, the company has acquired 300 acres at Talegaon near Pune. Plans are afoot to start production by the last quarter of 2008. It will be 1.40 lakh vehicles annually, Mr. Balendran said. He said the cities in the State positively responded to the arrival of new cars as in other metro cities in the country. "Kozhikode, in fact, sells more cars than other cities of the State," he said.

The new Chevrolet Aveo U-VA has been designed to compete with the Maruti Swift as well as the Hyundai Getz. The new car has been re-engineered to meet the specific needs of local consumers as well as local driving conditions.

The model designed in Italy is incredibly spacious with generous legroom and shoulder room. It is built with a high strength steel safety cage along with 2.5 mph impact proof bumpers.

It has amazing fuel efficiency having a mileage of from 12 to 14 km per litre on city roads and from 18 to 20 km per litre on highways.

The showroom prices of various models in Kozhikode are Rs.3.99 lakh, Rs.4.39 lakh and Rs.4.79 lakh.

These are available in colours of rainforest, blazing red, cashmere, intense black, Arizona amber, sterling silver, platinum metallic and velocity. The company is also offering warranty coverage for three years or one-lakh meters and service package for three years or 45,000 km.

When his attention was drawn to Maruti Swift launching its diesel version, Mr. Balendran said General Motors had no plans to come out with a diesel version of Aveo U-VA.

However. the company is coming out with the diesel version of Optra by mid 2007.