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China's largest carmaker, SAIC Motor intends to enter the Indian car market. The company will start by bringing the MG brand here first.
SAIC's Indian subsidiary is registered as MG Motor India and former GM India CEO Rajeev Chaba is at the helm. SAIC was impressed with him when he was vice-president, sales and marketing, for GM China. Chaba is the only CEO of GM to have turned a profit (in 2005-06). The Chinese carmaker has also appointed P. Balendran, another GM India veteran, as executive director.
The current plan is to sell SAIC products in India with an MG badge, with the first model set to roll out in 2019. SAIC currently has access to other sister brands like Maxus and Roewe and it can tap into this product portfolio to aid development of its Indian products.
MG Motor India has a wide range of models in its portfolio, including hatchbacks, Sedans, MPVs, SUVs, hybrids and even electric Cars. The company may initially focus on SUVs in our country. The company is currently in talks with GM to take over its Halol plant in Gujarat, but there has been no formal agreement so far. In a statement in April, SAIC said the company "continues to evaluate various options to set up a Car manufacturing plant in India. SAIC's Halol plant deal is subject to GM's submission of all government approvals, settlement of labour and all other pending issues by GM."
SAIC is likely to invest upwards of Rs 3,000 crore in the first phase. "We are in India for the long term and are confident of establishing a strong presence in the market," said an SAIC official.