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Has Great Wall Motors Changed Its India Plans?

Published On May 04, 2021 02:13 PM By Dhruv

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Great Wall Motors had big plans for India but the stressed Indo-China relations put a halt to those last year

At the beginning of last year, before the whole COVID-19 thing became widespread, we were talking about GWM, the latest carmaker to enter India. After all, we had had Kia and MG enter the market in quick succession, and the thought of one more carmaker wanting a piece of the pie was understandable. Then came the lockdowns, and the plans got pushed a little, before the stressed Indo-China relations finally put a clamp on things.

Things regressed so quickly that just over a week after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with GWM, the Maharashtra government freezed all investments from the brand in the state. At the time, it had said that the step has been taken in consultation with the central government.

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GWM was in the process of acquiring a manufacturing plant in Talegaon (near Pune), which was previously owned by General Motors (GM). The idea was that they wanted to bring highly localised models to India. However, fast forward a year and there has been no word of any progress.

According to a media report in ETAuto, GWM is finding it hard to get the right clearances from the authorities to start making cars in India. The report further adds that due to these problems, the brand is now looking at a top-down approach. That is, they will bring in their niche products first, and once the brand becomes well known, bring in the localised models.

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They could do this by bringing their products as a CBU (completely built-up) or CKD (completely knocked down). The brand as a whole was quite serious about the Indian market, and even  conducted the global premiere of their new mid-size SUV, Concept H at the 2020 Auto Expo. Ideally, the production version of this SUV should have first come to India only, but the ongoing scenario meant that countries like Russia, Australia and China got it before us. It remains what GWM has in store for the Indian market.

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