Here's GM India's sales director Vikas Jain answering some of the not very obvious questions in a chat with Indian Autos Blog at the Chevrolet Enjoy's regional launch in Chennai held today afternoon.
Q: Would you tell us the logic behind having eight seats in the base variant and seven seats in the higher variants?
A: The configuration gets built up after a lot of customer research and studying what the customer prefers. Our understanding is as you go up on the price or the variants, customers want captain seats and the captain seats can come only on a seven seat configuration. That's the logic. This is just a matter of fixing the seats and it can be managed. To start with this should be able to meet the customer demand.
Q: Is there a plan to sell the Enjoy to the commercial segment?
A: This is launched as a family car. If any launch becomes a success with families, it also gets into the taxi segment. So we are not here to stop any natural flow but the intention is to sell it to as many customers and segments as we can.
Q: The last time we had an India-specific branding on a Chevrolet product was with the Tavera. So why did you name this car Enjoy?
A: The name can always be specific to the countries and we wanted to put a very exciting name to the car. That's why we've used Enjoy. The Enjoy is launched to provide space, technology and an affordable product to the Indian customers. The name also goes well with our 'Find New Roads' global marketing campaign.
Q: What is different in the Indian Enjoy when compared to the Wuling Hongguang sold in China?
A: The 1.3-litre diesel engine is made out of Talegaon and the suspension has been tuned to suit Indian conditions. There were lots of tweaks to the whole package to suit it to Indian conditions. Then there is the standard equipment which includes dual AC, four power windows, etc. We also wanted to launch a dual tone dashboard because it feels premium. All that gets built up as a concept for India
Q: Why have you chosen red as the communication color?
A: When you look at white, it is for the commercial segment. If you look at other colors, that's where the family segment comes in. The red looks really attractive when it is on display. For a person who moves out from a typical sedan or a hatchback to an MPV that's a family car, the red entices him. If we use white, it may look like a commercial vehicle. In all, we have six colors on the Enjoy.
Q: What is the current split between the petrol and diesel for Chevrolet cars in India?
A: We have seen the petrol market go up in the last six months. The split varies from state to state. Some states may respond faster and go back to petrol, some states hold on to diesel. It also depends on the product segment. For example in Mumbai, you would have 60% petrol for the Sail sedan versus 40% diesel which was earlier the other way round. But in some markets, diesel continues to constitute 80% of the market and petrol is only at 20%. In Punjab, 90% of the market is diesel and 10% is petrol. Delhi was among the last markets to move from petrol to diesel and now we see it coming back. For our product range, it would be around 80:20 or 75:25 for diesel:petrol respectively in all of India.
Q: The sales number of the Spark and the Beat have fallen steeply in the recent months. What are your revival efforts?
A: The B1 segment (Beat) has been crashing at about 20-25% year- on-year. The B1 segment is among the biggest collapses in March and April. All B1 car sales are sliding but within the segment we are still improving our market share. If the segment is collapsing we don't know who to blame that on!
Q: The new Captiva was unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, the facelifted Cruze has been launched in most global markets and the Beat facelift is being introduced throughout the world as we speak. These cars should come to India at some point of time, shouldn't they?
A: Yeah, that's right. Product refreshments, minor changes, major changes are all continuous processes for a company like us. We believe in building up excitement, we would talk about it or introduce it as it is required in the market. Right now we are quite healthy because last year we upgraded our Spark and the Cruze was given changes in the form of an upgraded engine. As of now, we would like to consolidate the Sail U-VA, Sail and Enjoy. As the year passes by we will talk about those (international products).
Q: Having startled everyone with multiple new cars at the 2012 Auto Expo, what can we expect at next year's edition?
A: *Laughs* It is too early to talk about it. We are still in the drawing board stage. I will certainly share details with you as we approach the show!