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General Motors to phase out Chevrolet brand from India and South Africa

Published 19 May 2017

General Motors (GM) said it will phase out its Chevrolet brand in India and South Africa by the end of this year.

The move is part of key restructuring actions in the company's GM International operations to strengthen global business performance.

The company will focus its GM India manufacturing operations on manufacturing vehicles for export only and will transition its South African manufacturing to Isuzu Motors.

GM entered the Indian market back in 1996 and has struggled to keep up with other automakers such as Hyundai and later entrants including Renault, Ford, Toyota, Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors.

The company introduced several models in India including Astra, Corsa and Vectra under Opel brand, Optra, Beat, Spark, Tavera, Cruze, Captiva, Trailblazer and Enjoy. It has also discontinued several models including Forester, Optra SRV and Aveo.

In South Africa, GM started its operations in 1926 but disinvested from the country in 1985. It went back to the South African market in 1997.  

Opel brand’s future is also uncertain as GM is in talks with its new owner, the PSA Group.  Recently, GM announced that it is selling its Opel brand in Europe to the French automaker.

In East Africa, Isuzu has agreed to acquire GM’s stake of 57.7% in GM East Africa, and will assume management control.

Apart from these changes, GM stated that it will make its office in Singapore to oversee the operations in markets including Australia, New Zealand, India, Korea and Southeast Asia. This move is expected to bring in organisational efficiencies and in-market expertise.

Though the American automaker will cease its sales in the regions, it has ensured to continue to support its customers with services and spare parts.

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said: “As the industry continues to change, we are transforming our business, establishing GM as a more focused and disciplined company. We are committed to deploying capital to higher return initiatives that will enable us to lead in our core business and in the future of personal mobility.

“Globally, we are now in the right markets to drive profitability, strengthen our business performance and capitalize on growth opportunities for the long term. We will continue to optimize our operations market by market to further improve our competitiveness and cost base.”

As a result of these structural changes, GM expects to save about $100m annual and plans to take charge of about $500m in the second quarter of this year.


Image: GM to stop selling Chevrolet brands in India and South Africa. Photo: Courtesy of General Motors.