General Motors CEO targets India opportunity

general-motors-global-ceo-mary-barra-meets-narendra-modiAmerican automobile giant General Motor’s CEO Mary Barra is upbeat about opportunities in the burgeoning Indian market and unveiled her company’s plan to launch 40 new products in the international market, including India.

Barra met India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman September 11to discuss the company’s future plans in India. When asked about the agenda for the meeting with Modi, Barra told reporters: “I just want to congratulate him”.

While in New Delhi, Barra announced that India’s market was very significant for GM’s future plans. She added that GM will launch 40 new products in international markets including India.

“Indian market is very very important when you look at the fact that many are predicting that by 2020 timeframe it would be the third largest market behind the China and the US. A very significant market, I see a lot of opportunity here from the market perspective.”

According to Barra, GM is currently looking to restructure its India operation, evaluate its product portfolio and increase its market presence in the country.

India has the potential to be the world’s third-largest passenger car market by 2018, reports IHS Automotive. It is currently placed sixth.

“In China we play in the core of the segments and here in some cases we are more on the fringe or we are not across the major segments. What we are evaluating here is what is the right product portfolio,” said Barra.

GM, which entered India in 1994, has invested over 1 billion USD in India, but its market share still hovers around 3.2 percent.

Barra became the first woman to take over the world’s second largest car maker in January, 2014. But the job has not been easy. In the last few years GM has been hounded by a number of problems forcing it to recall its vehicles across the globe. In 2014 alone it has recalled over 29 million vehicles.

In 2013, General Motors recalled 114,000 units of its multi-purpose vehicle Chevrolet Tavera, manufactured between 2005 and 2013, to address issues of faulty emissions. A government appointed panel called it a “corporate fraud.”

Barra said GM’s goal now was to improve their processes to make defect-free vehicles. “We want to be a highly respectable and valued firm. There is a huge focus on quality now. The past is in the past. We have been here a long time but we don’t want to be a mere competitor, we want to be leaders.”

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