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Delhi show: India’s Chev recipe to get Holden spice?

Beat up: General Motors released this picture of a Chevrolet concept – one of two to be revealed by the bow-tie brand at next month’s Auto Expo Delhi.

Mentor Holden in the wings as GM confirms two new Chev concepts for Delhi expo


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19 Jan 2016

GENERAL Motors has confirmed two new Chevrolet concept vehicles will be revealed at the 2016 Delhi motor show in India on February 3, perhaps providing a stage for the latest collaboration between GM India and General Motors Australia Design.

As GoAuto has reported, the Holden-based studio is warming up to pull the wraps from its next vehicle for GM’s global network, apparently in the first half of this year.

Now GM has confirmed the biennial Auto Expo Delhi will host the debut of a pair of concepts, including a mini crossover vehicle that the Indian press has dubbed Beat Cross.

The Indian subsidiary of GM this week released a teaser image of the vehicle, showing the familiar Chevrolet face with twin grilles and LED daytime running lights and driving lights.

The other concept remains under wraps, with speculation in India that it could be a near-production version of the Adra small SUV concept that originally surfaced at the same show in 2014, or perhaps the next generation of the Spark-based Beat hatchback.

The Adra was designed in collaboration between GM’s studios in Melbourne and India, with the final vehicle fabricated in Holden’s prototype workshop.

Holden designers have played a mentoring role to the fledgling Indian studio in Bangalore, and everything suggests that the collaboration is continuing, with one or perhaps both of the upcoming concepts at Delhi having Australian input.

Whatever the Delhi show holds, it appears to be important to GM, with a who’s who of senior executives reportedly set to catch the corporate jet to India for the event.

GM is known to be working on a new family of small vehicles for developing markets including India, China, Brazil and Mexico.

GM International Operations president Stefan Jacoby announced last year that the new global vehicle family would have several body styles and would be built in India for the domestic market and for export to other developing markets.

Mr Jacoby promised that the vehicles would feature “striking styling that has never been seen here before”.

GM is spending $US1 billion ($A1.45b) in India to upgrade and consolidate its manufacturing at its Talegaon plant, near Mumbai, in Maharashtra state, in readiness for the new product splurge that it hopes will double its Indian market share by 2020.

That goal appears attainable, as Chevrolet sold just 56,700 vehicles in India last year, giving it a market share of 1.8 per cent – well behind market leaders such as Maruti Suzuki.

Chevrolet is in the process of launching 10 new vehicles in India, including the Spin mini MPV that will also make its debut at the Delhi show ahead of its early 2017 showroom debut.

However, it is unclear when vehicles built on the new-generation compact architecture – rumoured to be codenamed Amber – will surface, with many pundits suggesting a 2019 showroom start.

Presumably designed as a rugged and affordable architecture to suit the unique conditions and wallets of developing markets, the new platform and resultant models are being developed jointly by GM and its Chinese partner SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) on a $US5 billion budget.

In 2014, GM announced plans to build an all-new eco-friendly small car at a proposed “strategic hub for global exports” in Thailand under that country’s subsidised Eco Car 2 scheme – a plan that was later quietly scrubbed by GM and, it seems, replaced by the Indian expansion project.

Confirming the two Chevrolet concepts for the Delhi show, GM India president and managing director Kaher Kazem – a production engineer once based at Holden – said show visitors would see “a completely new Chevrolet”.

“Our presence at this year’s event will be highlighted by some Chevrolet product reveals that will mirror the aspirations of Indian consumers and compete in the most vital segments of the Indian vehicle market,” he said.

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