By Sohini Das
General Motors (GM) India has started trial production of its multi-utility vehicle (MUV) Enjoy at the Halol plant near Vadodara, a worker told Bussiness Standard. The company plans to start commercial production of the model by the year-end but did not comment on whether trial production has started.
“We plan to start producing the Enjoy by the end of this year,” said P Balendran, GM India vice-president (corporate affairs).
A worker at the Halol facility said trial production of the ‘Enjoy’ model was under way, and the plant was producing about 40 cars a month — both petrol and diesel variants. “Commercial production is expected to begin from December, and the car will be available in the market by March,” he said, requesting anonymity.
The Enjoy, showcased at this year’s Auto Expo in Delhi, is accounted for by the joint venture between GM and China’s SAIC Motor Corp.
In 2011-12, the MUV segment accounted for 13-14 per cent of the passenger vehicle market. In the next two years, it is expected to record a compounded annual growth rate of about 20 per cent. The segment has seen a lot of activity in recent months, with the launches of the Renault Duster, the Mahindra XUV-500 and the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. All these have seen huge demand and currently, their waiting periods range between three and six months. Manufacturers, therefore, are considering ramping up production.
Balendran said, “We have the capacity in place. Production volumes would depend on demand in the market.”
GM plans to manufacture engines for the Enjoy at its Talegaon plant in Maharashtra, while the cars would be made at Halol. The company has already started manufacturing hatchback Sail, also from the GM-SAIC stable, at Talegaon. “We plan to launch the Sail in October,” Balendran said.
He refused to specify the price points for the Sail and Enjoy models, saying, “Pricing is always determined by market dynamics. The Sail would compete with Maruti Suzuki’s Swift and Ritz, the Ford Figo and the Hyundai i10. We have to price it competitively. This is also true for the Enjoy; if we want to gain market share in the segment, the pricing has to be attractive.”
The Enjoy would compete with Maruti’s Ertiga (Rs 5.8-8.45 lakh), Renault’s Duster (Rs 7.19-11.29 lakh) and Mahindra’s XUV 500 (Rs 11.58-14.10 lakh). Sources say while the Sail is expected to be priced at Rs 3-5 lakh, prices of the Enjoy model would start at about Rs 7 lakh.
In this segment, GM already has utility vehicle Tavera, priced at about Rs 6.6 lakh. The Enjoy is likely to be positioned as a somewhat premium vehicle, compared to the Tavera.