GM plans to roll out mini electric cars

After Tata's Nano, Gujarat is all set to rollout another mini car; this time from Halol in Panchmahals district. It will be an electric car from General Motors in association with the Bangalore-based Reva Electric Car Company.

The announcement by General Motors to start production within 12 months has given the residents of Halol a reason to smile. They were worried about job cuts after the holding company, General Motors, US, had filed for bankruptcy. There were rumours that the company would shut down its Halol plant and some workers were even laid off.

But GM India is now expanding its fleet of cars. "Both Halol and Talegaon plants will manufacture the electric cars depending upon the volumes and other product programmes," said Karl Slym, president and Managing Director, GM India in an e-mail reply. This will be the first alternative fuel car which will come out of GM's Halol plant besides the Jatropha bio-diesel run car. "The car will be in addition to the bio-diesel vehicle options currently being pursued by Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Bhavnagar," Slym added.

The Halol plant has at least three different assembly lines where over five variants are manufactured. GM also wants to export the electric cars being made here. "To start with, it will be for the domestic market, but we are open to export options as well depending upon the demand," Slym said. He, however, refused to provide information about the expansion of the Halol plant, which has an annual capacity of 85,000 units, as well as the number of people to be recruited. "It's little early to talk about the investments or additional manpower requirements. Some investments will be required, but we may no be able to quantify it at this stage," he said.

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