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Old 31st August 2015, 01:53   #1
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Default Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

Chevrolet sold a grand total of 11330 cars in March 2010 and a total of 110804 for whole year 2010. Too good to be true.

2009-10 would have been the time Chevrolet was on full throttle. Strong Marketing Campaigns, New Product launches, Better market reach, Stability after riding on Uncle Samís shoulder and what not. The Indian market seemed of great value to every car manufacturer. GM focusing on emerging markets and pumping more than ever on Indian operations.

During GMís CEO Mary Barra visit to India, Chevrolet announced $1 Bn Investment in India. Company official says ďWith this investment, our aim is to double our market share in India by 2020Ē. Link

OK. So youíre planning to double your market share from a present 1.04% to 2.08% in 2020? Translated, your upcoming 5-year plan is to actually reach a point where you were a year ago! Perhaps, you arenít aware that you did much better in July 2011 at 5.45% of the Indian car scene!

If any car manufacturer wants to learn on how to not a sell a car, it should be Chevrolet India. With every passing year, the losses borne by GM are shocking. Such is the decline of the companyís market share that car enthusiast have forgotten if the brand even exist. Check the last 5 years market share figures below. Figures are for monthly sales, based on TEAM-BHP's monthly sales reports.
  • July 2011 at 5.45%. Ranked no 6 on Indian car makers list.
  • July 2012 at 3.77%.
  • July 2013 at 3.74%.
  • July 2014 at 2.43%.
  • July 2015 at 1.04%. Ranked no 9 on Indian car makers list!
At a time when majority of car makers are busy on focusing on customer centric dealership (Upmarket Dealerships, Lounge area, Children play area, Cafe, WiFi, Tablets with Sales person, Valet services, etc.). Chevrolet isnít even bothered about poor consumer experience at showrooms and building trust in customer.

Youíve to wake up GM. This $1 Bn isnít working until you build trust with consumers. Discard obsolete offerings, launch Global products in India at the right time(within 6-12 months of global launch), not the dated designs. Fact is, after Cruze and the Beat, youíve just dumped Chinese designs here. Whereís the striking Impala, Malibu, Sonic twins, and the Traverse? Even if they donít sell here, launch them to grace your showrooms. That's how VW, Toyota give their customers premium feel at the showrooms. Give Customer a feeling of buying a premium brand, not a discounted product.

Learn from other foreign car makers, design and develop product range for India. Suzuki does it for all their models, Hyundai does it for more than half of their line-up, Honda did it with City more than a decade ago and brought their diesel heart for Indian demands in all their cars after tasting the hard waters, Ford did that with Figo, the EcoSports and now the Aspire series. Heck, even Fiat is at least trying different combinations with all theyíve in hand with Abarth, T-Jet. What are you up to? Recalls?

Upcoming Launches.

  • Trailblazer
Would it Fly?
Chevrolet India : The Way Forward-screen-shot-20150830-11.34.56-pm.png
The Fortuner and the Ford Endeavour have established their names in SUV janta. Even the superior Pajero Sport has to face tough time with its limited reach. What with the facelift of Fortuner and Everest, itíll get even tough for Chevy. Why bring an old product[Read Trailblazer] to Indian shore? This would have looked good 3-4 years back, but in this age, where the good looking and feature rich Santa Fe finds it tough to please Indian buyerís mindset. All youíve got is this! Why was the more accomplished and longer Traverse not considered instead of the Trailblazer?

At a time when every other car manufacturer is busy localising products at Indian plants, Chevrolet is bringing Trailblazer as a CBU. God Bless GM!
  • Spin
Talking of new launches, Spin wouldíve looked cool 2-3 years back. Does it take so long to test it for Indian conditions? I mean why risk your chances and delay it for 2016?

Hope the Spin doesn't go in for a Toss.
Chevrolet India : The Way Forward-screen-shot-20150830-11.31.56-pm.png
Time is running out fast and the Billion you are planning to invest wonít help if thereís no competent product and consumer trust. Ask anyone at TATA or FIAT.

So whereís the Problem?
  • Brand Pull
When it comes to brand image, Chevy doesn't even betters Mahindra or TATA. Tavera Quality Issues ripped apart the brand image to even new low and with low resale of GM cars(Opel included) in the used market, Chevy has just nothing to feel proud about. It has to focus more on Product Quality, Better Brand Marketing campaigns. Maruti Eeco with minimal marketing and more than a decade old of Versa looks almost sells twice of the entire Chevy range.
  • Dated Products
After the Cruze and Beat were launched, not a single Global product has been launched here in India. There has to be a USP of every product to be successful. With the Cruze, it was all American Muscle car look with the most powerful car in the segment tag and for the Beat, it was a futuristic styling ahead of its time coupled with most fuel-efficient car tag when launched. Fact is, Cruze took the market by storm becoming a famous among car enthusiast and Beat finding many takers for its new-age styling. With the new launches, viz., Sail twins and Enjoy, Chevy had nothing to shout about.
  • No India specific products
What difference is Trailblazer and Spin going to make to the portfolio? Is there any target customer? Why not launch the Impala and at least focus on a niche segment. Sonata is the only player and that too is a flop. Fill the void. How about the Trax?
  • Too much of Offers
This diminishes a product like none other. Ever since the spark days, Chevy is infamous for advertising huge discounts in newspapers. Almost all their cars have discount running throughout the year. One of the few car makers to have a dedicated page for offers. Such a sad state. Why not try 'no schemes and no scheming' for sometime.
Chevrolet India : The Way Forward-screen-shot-20150830-8.37.23-pm.png

And The Way Forward..
  • Introduce New products without any delay
It took Maruti and Hyundai less than 2 years to get the Duster competitor ready. Chevy has to find relevant products for the masses. What a good time this is to launch the all new Beat(or the new Spark). Much better is the time to Global Launch it here. Chevy canít gain more confidence by doing anything else. Launch the new Cruze as soon as it is launched elsewhere.
If Chevy really wants to sustain in this competitive zone, it needs to bring the best products timely and no Chinese designs this time, please.
  • More power to the Boss
Arvind Ji Saxena and his team needs to find the mojo back. GM has many competent products in its global kitty. Launch them. If decisions are to be made only by the US Headquarters, GM probably wants to stay in losses.
  • Donít let the sales fall
Chevy has failed to upgrade any of their cars in a major way which a end user would have liked. It was GM who introduced Sunroof and Auto transmissions at a bigger scale with the Optra. What happened after that? Why not play with multiple engine options, add touch screens infotainments, body-kits, change interior theme, new alloy wheel designs, ABS/Airbags on lower variants, addition of sunroof and other stuff to maintain the sales momentum. Look what VW did to Polo by creating so many iterations out of it. How about adding a 1.0 turbo Petrol or a 1.3L diesel mated with an auto tranny under the Beatís hood. It took Chevy 4 years to add features like steering audio controls and seat height adjust in Beat after the carís launch. What a shame! Beat has been their best seller for a long time. You donít need permissions from US for small changes to the feature or specification modifications. At least try before giving up.
  • The set-up is ready
With close to 250 dealers. Itís matter of time before new products are launched. Just the dealership experience has to be taken a level up. Why not launch Impala, Corvette or the Camaro to enhance the brand pull and make shoppers at showroom busy with selfies.
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Old 31st August 2015, 08:49   #2
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I enjoyed driving my Beat for 5 years before upgrading to Ford Figo Aspire, it seems Chevrolet is right now more concerned about keeping afloat in Indian market rather than strengthening their line up of new offerings.
Spark and Beat were two credible mass market offerings which could have enhanced Chevrolet Brand Value to a great extent on which company failed to capitalize
For now using their Indian facility to export cars to other countries is the only viable option for them because even monthly Beat sales have dropped below 1K units
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Old 31st August 2015, 09:33   #3
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What Mr Arvind Saxena has been able to do well in past 5 years that he has been able to grow personally to new heights. Although his stint with Hyundai, Volkswagen has been good for him, he is known to turn around the existing strategy to another one endorsed in view of current market need. The point I try to make is that GM had been sleeping in past to wait and watch before to take the plunge. Now that they are clear on India's potential, first thing was to get the man who knows indian market well. That's Mr Arvind by the way.

Now let's look at their product Trailblazer on offer, a potent product with acres and acres of space is nothing but a demo product for India. This is to showcase what GM is capable of. GM is known to make big and muscular vehicles and that's how it wants to also establish itself India. Although some of you may not agree but their products for India cannot be simply copy paste of what they have in India. This they have to work on a complete new set of product line up for India(of course inspired from US RANGE of products).

This will take time and needless to say GM has already lost quite some time in deciding for India's potential. That said better late than be sorry!

There most potent product that can set the guns blazing in India is New Chevrolet Cruze 2016. I expect it to be heavily localised to keep the product pricing competitive in the segment that is flooded by SUV's. I think pricing it right with good looks it has, GM can set the ball rolling.

Beat is a good product doing well but faces competition from the liking of new products like Renault Kwid.

Best company to sail in coming years is the one that has best after sales service and network even to the most remote locations in India.

By the way what kind of existing products from their global line up can GM bring to India?
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Old 31st August 2015, 12:42   #4
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Default Re: Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

The good time for GM in India probably ended with the exit of Karl Sym, the failure to get a space in diesel hatchback segment has hurt them badly. Spark with a diesel heart would have done well for them in 2012, Beat never clicked due to poor ergonomics and cramped interiors. They have failed to benefit from the 1.3L MJD in their cars, overall quality of their cars have decreased due to the focus on SAIL models.
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Old 31st August 2015, 13:06   #5
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Default Re: Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

I think the principle reason why Hyundai has done so well, as compared to many other car manufacturers like Chevy is the importance they've paid to the customer.

Chevy in the past have taken the customer for granted and that is when they lost their way. And the Indian customer generally is very hard and unforgiving in these aspects. It will take Chevy a lot to get back the trust! I also think that Tata is in a very similar position. The Zest is a very competent car but pulls in very few numbers.
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Old 31st August 2015, 13:06   #6
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Default Re: Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

I own a 2013 SAIL Sedan, and very happy with its overall performance. Its a good car with a nice balance of power, mileage and space. The only thing which i miss severely is its interior quality and color, though it was updated later with a combination of black and beige interiors which looks cool.

GM needs to improve their customer services and product lineup for more sales.
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Old 31st August 2015, 14:25   #7
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Default Re: Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

Sigh, 2 decades of work in India and nothing to show for it - That's Chevrolet for you. The company is in an incredibly weak position...mainly due to their own mistakes, but also partly because the competition (namely Maruti & Hyundai) has become more fierce.

I see a lot of similarities between the state of Chevrolet & Tata Motors' passenger car division = Uninspiring products that customers don't even look at, demotivated dealerships, a damaged brand, lack of marketing skill & ineffective management. It's as if the management yawns on the way to work, yawns through the work day and yawns on the way home. What Chevrolet & Tata need is a complete overhaul, from the ground up.

Originally Posted by viren83 View Post
Introduce New products without any delay
New products aren't enough. The Beat was fantastic, but they were simply unable to sell it for long. The marketing & sales machinery doesn't have any power. When the Sail twins arrived, the Beat collapsed.

Arvind Ji Saxena and his team needs to find the mojo back.
Originally Posted by saurabhdadhichi View Post
Now that they are clear on India's potential, first thing was to get the man who knows indian market well. That's Mr Arvind by the way.
I've been a big fan of Saxena's achievements at Hyundai. Sadly, he was able to do nothing at VW & now at Chevrolet.

Don't forget that the clock is ticking. He barely has 1 - 2 years left before retirement (GM's compulsory retirement age is 60).

Originally Posted by sjayanu View Post
I own a 2013 SAIL Sedan, and very happy with its overall performance. Its a good car with a nice balance of power, mileage and space.
Even Toyota - with all its brand strength - wasn't able to sell an old sedan in India (i.e. Etios). Chevrolet never had a chance with the Sail. Absolutely zero possibility of success.
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Old 31st August 2015, 14:43   #8
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Default Re: Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

One thing is for sure. They need to press the "restart" button. Just like we do when our phone keeps lagging and hangs every now and then. Nothing fixes better than a restart.

They already have the Engines for the Indian market, both in Petrol & Diesel.
All they need to do to their global cars would mainly be the Suspension job, to adjust to the GC and to tune it for the Indian roads.
They still think India is a cheap car market and hence they are trying to bring in their Chinese designs. But that market changed like 3-4 years back. Now there is an ever growing market for "non-cheap" cars. Look at the number of i20's, Jazz, Polo selling MoM. Dzire & Swift out sell the Alto.

Basically India's car market is ready for the expensive options. It no longer runs after the "Cheap car" tag. Though "Kitna deti hai" still is the priority question of the buyers, but things around this "kitna deti hai" have changed in a big way.
They should at least bring on their preimium global products just for the sake of trying how it goes in the market. Things cannot get worse than what it is currently for GM.

Last edited by vinit.merchant : 31st August 2015 at 14:45.
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Old 31st August 2015, 15:13   #9
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Default Re: Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

It is clear that the dismal performance of Chevrolet these days is because the company has let the product range go stale.
Just look at how Hyundai has managed to keep its product range fresh. Almost every other month, Hyundai is coming up with either an entirely new product, or an all new version of the existing product, or a facelifted version. All because, a manufacturer who is serious about the business cannot let the customers forget its existence.
Chevrolet introduced the mass market Beat. It looked funky, and many youth wanted to own one. Then the product became old, and there are many new toys in the market to attract the youth.
Why isn't there an automatic Beat? Even a Nano has automatic transmission option these days!
Do they know that, introducing the same car, with only the addition of a few fresh colour options with good marketing can be as attractive as introducing a new car itself? How about a Sunset Orange, or a deep blue, or a Half white?
An all new Beat is going to be introduced in 2017 all right, but till then, will they continue to sell the same car, without a single change?
This approach of dumping all models in one year, and forgetting them for next ten years will not give them sustained business.
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Old 31st August 2015, 15:27   #10
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The problem is the lack of suitable product with diesel engine options to bring here.

The diesel engine options are available only on Opel/Vauxhall in Europe and bringing in the Opel models would make withdrawing the Opel brand in the past pointless.

Consider their US range:

1. Chevrolet Spark : Same model as the Beat in India.

2. Chevrolet Sonic/Aveo: Was sold with the 1.3 multijet for a while in Europe. But no present economies of scale as Chevrolet is pulling out of Europe.

3. Chevrolet Cruze: The new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze could be a game changer. Remember, the Cruze used to start at 10.98 lacs in 2009. They should launch both petrol and diesel variants starting at least at 12 lacs there by under cutting rivals.

4. Chevrolet Malibu: Doesn't have a diesel option anywhere. Too little volume in the D segment in India to put in one.

5. Chevrolet Impala: Its a big full size typically American sedan that is the same size as a SWB 7 series/A8/s class. The segment simply doesn't exist in India and no diesel option either. The Impala has never been sold with a diesel engine period.

Coming to the SUVs

6. Chevrolet Trax: Competes with the Ford Ecosport. Was sold for a while with a 1.7 diesel on Europe. Instead of this they seem to be hell bent on bringing in the Spin MPV.

7. Chevrolet Equinox/ Captiva : Two different vehicles built on the same platform. To be merged as one in the next generation. The Captiva should be built locally and would be a big hit if sold around 20 lacs. The current Captiva costs around 27 lacs ex showroom.

8. Chevrolet Traverse : No diesel engine option available anywhere .

9. Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Suburban: Large full size real American SUVs . Tahoe= SWB version, Suburban = LWB Version. Never available with a diesel engine in its 82 year old model history( Suburban).

The only option left is to bring in their Opel models Corsa /Astra and Insignia . That would bely the withdrawal of Opel. Mind you , that the sedan versions of Opel are sold as Buick along with the America designed Buicks like the Lacrosse .

The Trailblazer would need to priced very competitively undercutting the Fortuner by 4-5 lacs and by introducing a plethora of models to succeed.
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Old 31st August 2015, 15:30   #11
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Default Re: Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

Rather than trying to pick up the leftovers, it would be better to accept failure and start afresh. There's nothing wrong in admitting a failure vis-a-vis nothing worse than throwing good money in order to try and recover potentially lost money.
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Old 31st August 2015, 15:31   #12
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I honestly don't think GM can ever succeed in India with the way they have been functioning.

You bring in a fresh, funky design to the market with the Cruze & Beat and 2/3 years down the line, you enter the most competitive segment with the Sail twins? Heard of going backwards, anyone?!

They should have simply killed the Sail twins, which most people would have said to GM on their face in 2012 Auto Expo itself.

Beat and Cruze to an extent were competitive enough but then they couldn't keep the momentum going on simply because Customers had much better options in the market. While the interior quality and exteriors were ok, the interior space offered was equivalent to a segment lower in both cases...made matters worse.

A snippet from the Auto Expo thread on what GTO had to say in Jan 2012.
As expected, cars from Chevrolet India's 50% owner - Chinese Company SAIC - are making their way to India.

Chevrolet Sail Hatchback

I'm afraid Chevy might be doing another Aveo here (the Aveo & UVA ended up as market duds). The Sail hatchback already looks like an old design, and it's only just been unveiled! Except for the headlamps, nothing else looks contemporary enough for a 2012 launch. Sure, Ford had a similar approach with the Figo, but they priced it really well @ 3.xx lakhs. Another reason for the Figo's success was Ford's super-aggressive marketing. Will Chevrolet be able to pull it off, or will it meet the Aveo's fate? The Beat & the Cruze have given Chevrolet India a new identity...people have started equating the brand with modern, funky products. Somehow, the Sail doesn't fit into the new family.
Just watched ACI review of Trailblazer and it sounded ok until the 98% point of the video, the last 2% had a shocker! Launching only 2WD and a CBU @ around 30 Lacs? Wow, these guys have the guts to do that! With the Fortuner & Endeavour facelifts around the corner... As rightly said by Viren, God bless GM.

I am not saying most people opt for a 4WD given an option, but how do you differentiate with the established players while entering the party last?

Spin - Nothing to say. Not even sure if they are still planning to. If at all, GM, just kill it. Don't waste Team-bhp's DB space

Last edited by GTO : 1st September 2015 at 11:34. Reason: Language
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Old 31st August 2015, 20:15   #13
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Default Re: Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

Being a Chevy Beat (D) owner, I completely agree with the fellow BHPians.

The Beat was a very competitive product with funky styling that appealed to the City dwellers. I still love my car .

The Tavera was a VFM people mover.

The Cruze was the 'muscle car'. These were the last of the GM vehicles that had an identity.

Sail twins make me cringe from the GM logo. So does the Enjoy.

GM had a huge potential to make it big with its American lineage, but its last 3 years have been a perfect example of what NOT to do with a Brand. God help GM.
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Old 31st August 2015, 20:30   #14
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Default Re: Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

The Beat is still funky, but the competition has moved on, there has been hardly any updates since the last 5 years.

I wonder why no one speaks of the Sonic Hatch and the Sedan, it was such a gorgeous option. If Chevy had launched them instead of the Cheap looking Sino Sail, they might have seen better numbers.
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Old 31st August 2015, 21:03   #15
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Default Re: Chevrolet India : The Way Forward

I think what is seriously lacking with most OE's including GM, Fiat & VW & others is that these OE's are driven by their parent companies decisions to bring or not to bring. The Indian arm does not have a say unlike Maruti which has a Vital say in Suzuki's India practice.

I know people in the industry how they state that their planning & strategies fall on deaf ears and hence the state of apathy of most OEs.
Understanding that a huge investment is required to be done by the parent company, but it's the people sitting within a country that can best devise a strategy than those sitting elsewhere.

The company dissolved the Opel brand only to establish a new brand in India, sadly the fate of Chevy went down the same path as Opel.
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