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GM to introduce diesel variant of 'Beat' soon

The US automaker General Motors will introduce diesel variant of its popular compact car 'Beat' in the country soon.

The company, which introduced petrol version of the car during the Auto Expo in New Delhi, in January has been witnessing huge demand for the compact car from its stable.

"We will introduce the diesel variant of 'Beat' soon," General Motors India Vice-President P Balendran said here.

The company produces the Captiva, Optra, Cruze, Aveo, Aveo U-VA, Spark, Beat and Tavera in the country from its manufacturing facilities in Halol in Gujarat and in Talegaon Maharashtra.

It had reported a total sales of 69,579 units in 2009 and expects to cross one lakh sales mark this year, he said.

When asked about the demand for this particular variant, he said, "The waiting period for 'Beat' is currently around 30-40 days." He added so one can gauge the demand for this car.

However, he said the company's majority of sales were driven by its popular small car 'Spark'. "Compared to last year sales our growth this year is 113 per cent. We sold 69,579 units of which 30,000 units were Spark models," he said.

To a query on whether the company would introduce petrol variant of premium luxury sedan Cruze, he gave a negative reply adding that sale of diesel variants have exceeded the expectations.

For the same reason the company planned to introduce the diesel variant of Beat in the country. "We are planning to launch it in the first quarter of 2011 (calender year)," he said, declining to elaborate.

On customer retention, he said over 60 per cent of the company's existing customers prefer to come back for buying a new vehicle. "The average period is four years. After that either they exchange and go for a new model or sell the older model and opt for a new one," he said.

He claimed General Motors were the first to introduce a three-year warranty, which made the existing buyers to come back for new models.
Balendran said besides the diesel version of Beat, the company has already earmarked Rs 5,000 crore for launching five new cars-- passenger and commercial-- by next year end.

"We will introduce five new models at an investment of about Rs 5,000 crore. Three would be utility vehicles while two would be passenger cars," he said.

On exports, Balendran said they are currently exporting to neighbouring countries. "Exports contribute only two per cent of our total sales, which we hope to increase rapidly".

Currently the exports include Spark and Beat models to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He said the company expects rapid increase in exports over the next two years.

On their sales in Tamil Nadu, he said the company is looking at doubling it this year. "We sold 4,079 units in 2009 in Tamil Nadu and we are expecting to cross 9,000 units this year," he said.

The company currently has 207 sales points, including 12 in Tamil Nadu and was hoping to increase it to 300 by the end of this year.

In July, the company reported sales of 7,124 units, an increase of 45 per cent compared to the same month last year.
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