GM to launch its electric car ‘E-Spark’ by this year-end

Considering the extra cost incurred on electric engines, the company said that the E-Spark's price may be a little higher than the Spark

Automobile major General Motors on Friday said that it would launch the electric version of its small car 'Spark' in the Indian market this year-end.

"We are set to launch our electric car, E-Spark, by the end of this year in India," GM Motors' marketing director, Gaurav Gupta, told PTI in Mumbai.

"It will be an electric version of our small car Spark and will be the first four-door passenger car in the world in this segment," he said.

Considering the extra cost incurred on electric engines, Mr Gupta said that the E-Spark's price may be a little higher than the Spark. "The acquisition price may be slightly higher. But the operating costs will be very low," he said.

The company is entering the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment as well this year, he said.

The vehicles would be produced by the joint venture formed with a Chinese company, SAIC.

When asked if there was any plan to export engines to China, Mr Gupta said that the company would look at all business opportunities allowed by the laws of both countries.

"As a global company, we will not miss any opportunity. If the norms prevailing in both countries permit, we will look at export of engines," he said.

GM is expecting to sell one lakh units in India this year, Mr Gupta said.

"We are on the growth path. Last year, we sold around 70,000 units. We hope, this year, we can improve this figure to one lakh, with a growth rate of about 50%. We are upbeat on our 'Beat' from which we see more than 40% sales emanating," he said.

The company is strongly focusing on localisation with a view to drive down costs, he said. The company is planning to phase out its model, ‘Aveo’, gradually. "Our aim is to capture a double-digit market-share in India in a few years," Mr Gupta said.

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    Markets make marginal gains

    A possible fall in international indices due to the rumblings in Greece may trigger a short-term dip

    The upward movement of the market continued for the third consecutive day after the breather. The Sensex closed at 17,519 (up 0.17%), a gain of 29 points and the Nifty ended up with a high of 14 points (up 0.27%) at 5,246. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 47.69 points or 0.45% higher at 10,733.67. The Nasdaq Composite ended at 2,389.09, up 11.08 points or 0.47%; the S&P 500 was at 1,166.21, up 6.75 points or 0.58% on Wednesday.

    After a flat opening, the Indian market struggled in the negative throughout the day. After hitting fresh intraday lows in mid-afternoon trade, the Sensex pared losses and ended in the green. European shares slipped back from the previous session's 17-month closing highs in early trade on Thursday, with banks and commodity stocks taking the most points off key indices. The key benchmark indices in France, Germany and the UK fell by 0.1% to 0.23%. Asian stock markets fell on Thursday on reports that Greece may seek financial help from the International Monetary Fund as there is little hope for aid from the European Union.

    The biggest gainers in the Sensex today were Jaiprakash Associates (up 2.5%), Reliance Communications (up 2.1%), Infosys Technologies (up 1.6%), Hindalco Industries (up 1.5%), Reliance Energy (up 1.4%), and ICICI Bank (up 1.2%).

    Bharti Airtel rose marginally on reports that the company had applied for 3G mobile spectrum bids in all of the country's 22 telecom circles. Auto stocks fell on rising raw material costs. Hero Honda Motors fell 0.48%. Hero Honda has shortlisted Karnataka as one of the states for setting up its fourth manufacturing plant. Maruti Suzuki India fell 1.14%, extending recent losses triggered by fears that increase in competition may dent sales. Last week, Ford India entered the small car market with its 'Figo'.

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    Service tax on film industry might be rolled back

    The I&B minister has said that she will try to roll back the service tax proposed in the Budget on the film industry, which amounts to double taxation

    The service tax levied on the film industry, which was announced in the recent Budget, might be rolled back. The Union minister for information and broadcasting Ambika Soni has said that she would support the industry’s demand to get relief on service tax.

    “I do not want the film industry to be unhappy about the double tax which was announced in the recent Budget. You cannot charge service and value added tax (VAT) on the same item. You already charge service tax on the input cost; you should not charge it on the output,” said Ms Soni, while speaking at the ‘FICCI-Frames 2010’ seminar in Mumbai.

    She added, “Earlier, the tourism segment faced the same problem as they were already charged on their inputs (faxes, telephones, taxi services). The industry was also asked to pay tax on their turnover. We fought against it and the government granted 90% relief. I hope in this matter (the film industry) will get 100% relief.”

    The government has also seen great potential in animation and visual effects, so it is taking steps to support this segment.

    “We are planning to set up a national centre for animation, gaming and visual effects and an allocation of Rs52 crore will be made for the same. Most of the good animated films like ‘Avatar’, and ‘Krish’ faced piracy issues but now we are trying to curb the issue as much as possible. The Planning Commission is also allocating Rs660 crore to the National Heritage Mission for the 100th anniversary of the film industry,” said the minister.

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