The iconic American automobile conglomerate General Motors is no more than an average car company in India. By starting its journey in 1997 by selling Opel cars, and later got some traction with Chevy, GM India could never shine brightly in the burgeoning Indian car industry, thanks to infirm long-term strategy and poor customer engagement. The big news last week was the announcement made by GM about the launch of two new vehicles in next two years. A beefy Chevy Trailblazer SUV is touted for launch this year, while the Chevrolet Spin MPV is scheduled for 2016. How far can these two brand new Chevys be a game changer for the mediocre company??
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These two models – Trailblazer
– are perhaps those cars GM India could have launched in the past few years. The SUV and recently MPV segments have grown phenomenally, and are likely to be one of the key segment in the passenger vehicle industry. In fact, the company gazed at the Trailblazer for India in 2012, but however delayed it. Again, the SUV was showcased at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo
last year. The car, finally, will reach the Chevy showroom at least by mid-2015. It is to be imported from the its Thailand plant as CKD units. That’s cool, but the downside is that the Spin MPV will not be here anytime soon. GM will preview the new MPV at the Delhi Auto Expo next year, and official launch to follow.
|2015 Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV|
is a full-blown, old-school SUV using a ladder-on-frame chassis. On the face of it, the second-generation Trailblazer resembles almost like a Toyota Fortuner – the flared wheel arches, high hood, glassed-in ‘D’ pillars, rear taillamps, and even overall appeal. Any laymen is bound to mistake this 7-seater SUV to popular Fortuner. But the bulbous design details and glossy lines make Trailblazer more serene comparing to a brute, boxy Fortuner. The prominant dual-port grille is quite contemporary and dominating.
|2015 Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV|
Chevy offers a two engine options for the SUV in Thailand market – a 2.5-litre unit that makes 163 hp at 3,600 rpm, 380 Nm of torque at
2,000 rpm; and a 2.8-litre engine which produces 200 hp at 3,600 rpm and
500 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. A 6-speed manual gearbox, an automatic variant, with a top-trim 4WD is also offered. Fairly adequate features and safety equipments find place in the Trailblazer. Since the SUV is to be imported from Thailand, we can expect similar specs in the Indian version.
|Trailblazer’s Dashboard| Chevrolet Spin
, on the other hand, is a strategic product to tap the blooming fortunes on the new MPV segment in India. Yeah, to take on Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Honda Mobilio. Renault Lodgy is also going to join the league. Unlike Chevy’s Enjoy, the Spin isn’t boxy, and is based on GM’s Gamma ii platform (the enjoy is based on an older-gen Wuling CN platform
). It is likely to share
its engines with the sail sedan — the 1.2-litre 83bhp petrol and 1.3-litre 74bhp Multijet diesel motors. The Spin MPV is more likely to be a bit premium in pricing, so as to differentiate it with the Enjoy MPV.
So, the ultimate question is, will these two new models be a game changer for GM india?? I’m quite divided on that. Even though a new SUV and an MPV is a bliss for the ‘almost’ ailing company, they can’t be any robust game changers as we might think. Chevrolet has to work towards building a consistent fleet line-up and better strategy. As usual, pricing will be a key determinant. We see that the premium SUV segment pricing is climbing past Rs. 25 lakhs, and if Chevy could price it little below Ford Endeavour and Fortuner, a fair success is assured. It also depends on whether the company is going to replace the existing Captiva or sell Trailblazer alongside it.
|2015 Chevrolet Spin MPV: Launch in India only by 2016.|
There are other structural problems with the GM India that remains less addressed. That is why even new models, although competent, could not do wonders for the company. Chevy’s portfolio includes models in every important segments, poor consumer off-take is a persistent issue with GM, ever since its Opel era. The brand doesn’t connect well with its existing customers through advertising and after-sales service support. The dealer network is healthy, but the company has to work a long way in terms of quality delivery and satisfaction.
Photo Credit: IndianAutosBlog.com, MotorOctane.com