Curtain Call: General Motors Shuts Its Halol Plant After Two Decades
Modified On May 18, 2017 02:47 PM By Raunak
The Gujarat plant was brought to life by Opel with the production of the Astra in 1996. It breathed its last on April 28, 2017, after 21 years of continuous operation.
General Motors India is not going through its best phase of late, with dwindling market share due to no competitive product on sale resulting in dealership fallout. Today, the famed American automaker has shut down its Halol, Gujarat, manufacturing facility and will consolidate all its Indian-centric manufacturing at its Talegaon, Pune, facility.
(In Picture: GM's Talegaon Plant)
The automaker had already announced that it is working on selling the Halol plant, which its Chinese partner SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) is reportedly keen on buying to bring Britain's MG in India.
(In Picture: MG ZS SUV)
Halol plant’s history and GM's present situation
General Motors entered India with its Opel brand in the mid-90s, with the Opel Astra being its debutant car. The Halol plant became operational in 1996 with the production of the Astra sedan. However, in 2003, it introduced Chevrolet brand with the launch of the Subaru-sourced Forester and Optra, which was developed by GM’s Daewoo wing. In 2004, the Isuzu-sourced Tavera was introduced and it has been one of its bread and butter models in the country till now.
Later, GM also announced various collaborations – GM-SAIC for commercial vehicles in India along with GM-Reva for an all-electric Beat and other electric vehicles in India – but they never saw the light of the day.
In 2015, GM stated its intent to consolidate manufacturing at the Talegaon facility during its global CEO Mary Barra’s visit to the country. Now, the Halol plant is up for sale after 21 years of continuous production under GM.
Apart from the Talegaon facility, GM also operates R&D (research and development), engineering and design centres in Bengaluru.
The last Tavera was produced today at the Halol facility, while the Cruze’s production stopped recently. The Talegaon unit, which currently has a production capacity of 130,000 vehicles, will increase its base capacity to 220,000 vehicles by 2025. GM highlights that 30 per cent of the planned annual production at this plant is set for markets outside India.
The Optra, Spark and the Tavera remained GM’s high grossing vehicles until the first-gen Cruze (launched on October 12, 2009) and Beat (launched on January 4, 2010) came into the picture. Besides these, none of its models set the sales charts on fire and these two along with the Tavera continued to hold the fort until a few years ago.
Speaking of its imminent new launches, the automaker will launch the thoroughly updated Beat in coming months, which will be followed by its compact sedan counterpart, the Essentia, along with a cross-hatch, the Beat Activ.
On the premium side, Chevrolet confirmed last year that the new second-generation Cruze will be launched within 24 months in India (before mid-2018) along with the mid-cycle update/facelift of the Trailblazer. We expect the all-new Cruze and the updated Trailblazer to make their Indian market debut at the 2018 Auto Expo.