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Oct 09, 2012 at 12:55pm IST

General Motors to launch hatchback Sail in India soon

Pune: General Motors is pinning hopes on the upcoming car Sail from the stable of its Chinese partner, SAIC to expand volumes in India and expects it to be its best selling model in the country.

Still a fringe player 16 years after it entered the country, the company's Indian arm General Motors India will be launching the hatchback version of the Sail by the end of this month or early November to be followed by the sedan later in December as it looks to grow sales.

"With Sail and Enjoy, we are expecting a second innings in India. We hope that Sail hatchback and sedan together will be our best seller here," General Motors India India President and Managing Director Lowell Paddock told PTI here.

General Motors to launch hatchback Sail in India soon

General Motors India will be launching the hatchback version of the Sail by the end of this month or early November.

This is the first Sail to be manufactured outside China, although it is sold in the Middle East and North Africa, he added.

At present, the company's compact car Beat is its best selling model in India and it clocked 4,539 units in September this year.

The sedan version of Sail and multi-purpose vehicle Enjoy will be launched by December, Paddock said.

On the level of localisation, he said initially Sail in India will be 50 per cent localised and will be increased to 65 per cent by next year. It's transmission is imported from Austria.

When asked if Sail will be exported from India, he said: "Our focus is domestic market with Sail. But there is no reason why we can't export it to right hand drive market, mainly petrol version."

Earlier in the year, Paddock had said the company was targetting to take its market share in India to double digits from the current single digit, although he did not provide a timeline for it.

In 2011, GM India sold 1,11,510 units as against 1,10,804 units in 2010. As per Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) domestic passenger car sales stood at 19,46,373 units in 2011.

Sail will be the first of the vehicles from the stable of SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) to be launched in India.

The Sail will have a 1.3 litre diesel engine option and a 1.2 litre petrol variant. Similarly, Enjoy also have two fuel options with a 1.3 litre diesel engine and 1.4 litre petrol engine option.

Commenting on the company's declining sales, Paddock said: "It was mainly petrol cars that got hit. Moreover, we are short of two models U-VA and Optra, so our sales started to decline. We hope that from November or December, our sales will again register growth."

Last month the company's sales were down 26.78 per cent to 7,403 units as compared to 10,112 units in September, 2011.

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