MG Motor India, the wholly owned subsidiary of SAIC, China is developing a rather aggressive strategy for the Indian market. The company has announced an investment of Rs 2,000 crore in the first phase, while the total planned investment in the India project will be in access of Rs 5,000 crore, which will be spread over the next five to six years.
In the first phase, the company is upgrading its Halol plant, which it acquired in September 2017 from General Motors India. Also on the works is the development of a new press shop, and modification of assembly lines and other facilities. A new vendor park would also be set-up in the vicinity of the Halol plant, pushing its set objective of high localisation content on its products. While work at the plant is being aggressively pursued, the company is also lining up plans to engage with vendors and potential dealers. This would lead to the company launching its first product in the Indian market – an SUV – in the second quarter of 2019. From a production perspective, MG Motor India is aiming for an initial capacity of 80,000-100,000 units in Phase 1, ramping up to about 200,000 units in Phase 2.
In fact, speaking to the media, Rajeev Chaba, President & Managing Director, MG Motors India announced that the company is committed to launch a new vehicle every year, starting 2019. This will be backed by robust engineering and product development capabilities that the company intends to develop over time.
The company clearly is banking on the strong global product portfolio that SAIC has currently; in addition to developing the “right product” for the Indian market based on demand and need. And that will include new energy vehicles, such as electric vehicles. SAIC, in fact, is the only Chinese automaker with abilities to develop plug-in hybrids, pure electric and fuel cell vehicles, informed Chaba. The 7th largest automobile manufacturer in the world currently, SAIC is investing over $ 3.2 bn towards R&D in the field of new energy vehicles.
Over the next few years, the company is looking at creating 300 customer touch points. The process to identify and appoint dealers has been initiated, with engagements being planned in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore over the next month or so. An estimated 1,000 people would be recruited by the company by the end of this year, said Chaba, adding to the 150-odd employees that are already in its rolls.
Chaba recognises the fact that it’s going to be a challenging journey in the Indian market. But the good thing is, he said, they are aware of it. “We’re not going to fool ourselves by saying it's going to be easy, but we know the challenges,” Chaba said. The company is moving forward swiftly on its India strategy and building a strong organisation to embrace the future. “Our aim is to provide vehicles that will be new-age and very contemporary, with a premium image and great value,” he said.