At a time when Indian automobile industry is in pursuit to become the largest industry in the world, General Motors India's decision to stop sales of Chevrolet cars came quiet surprising. General Motors India had started its journey in 1996, two years ahead of Hyundai's Indian chapter.
After nearly two decades, Hyundai is second largest car-maker in India, while General Motors' market share is below one per cent. In the journey of 21 years, General Motors never took off in sales and failed to find a foothold. However, Chevrolet is not the first brand bidding adieu to India after an unsuccessful outing.
Here is the list of six car-makers who ended sales in India for various reasons.
Sipani Automobiles Ltd. was an Indian car manufacturer established in 1973. It was located in Bengaluru and mainly manufactured subcompact cars with fibreglass bodies. The most notable car model from the company was Dolphin, which is a copy of British four-wheeled three-door Reliant Kitten. Dolphin was known as a fast car, but production was eclipsed by the advent of Maruti 800. The company later launched Montana and Montego. They didn't succeed and only 236 cars left the factory in 1995.
Standard was an Indian brand of automobile which was produced by Standard Motor Products in Madras (now Chennai) from 1949. The most known car model of the company was Herald. Herald was originally heavily dependent on British parts, but in 1965, engines, gearboxes, and axles were all made in India. Standard Herald Mark II and Mark III were introduced in 1966 and 1968. From 1985 to 1988, the company manufactured Standard 2000. But low quality, high price and low performance combined to end the car after only about three years. A false claim about the fuel average of the car resulted in the company getting into long-winding legal tangles. The company was dissolved in 2006 and the old plant was demolished.
Remember Matiz? Daewoo was the car-maker behind the small car which entered the Indian market by the end of 1990s. Daewoo also sold Cielo sedan in India. By 1999, the whole Daewoo Group ran into financial trouble, and was forced to sell its automotive division. General Motors was the one who acquired Daewoo Motor's assets. General Motors ceased Daewoo's presence in India by 2002. The Matiz car was then reintroduced to India as Chevrolet Spark.
General Motors launched Opel brand in India in 1996. The brand launched cars like Astra during 1996 to 2003, Vectra between 2003 and 2005, and Corsa between 2003 and 2006. General Motors India discontinued the Opel brand from India in 2006 and replaced it with Chevrolet. At the time of closure, the Opel brand had 80 service outlets in 65 cities in India.
The French car-maker was one of the early birds in India after the country's economy opened up for foreign investments in early 1990s. The company partnered with Premier Automobiles in 1994 and offered the 309 sedan. However, the partnership ran into trouble with labour issues, and Peugeot wound up its India operations in 1997.
Peugeot recently confirmed its plans to re-enter India as part of the 'Push to Pass' initiative. Groupe PSA, the parent company of Peugeot, has forged an alliance with New Delhi-based CK Birla Group. The sale of the new generation Peugeot models are expected to begin by the end of this decade.
The new entrant in the list is Chevrolet and General Motors India made an announcement on Thursday, May 18. General Motors said the latest decision is part of a series of actions taken by the company to address its performance worldwide. The company said that the increased investment originally planned for India would not deliver the returns and hence, the closure of brand was necessary. The last car brand from General Motors India will be dead by the end of this year.