Chevrolet quits India, impact on cab industry

Another one bites the dust. After Peugeot, Daewoo, Fiat and Renault, Chevrolet too joins the wall of struggles in the (in)famous automotive land they call India. A playground of paradoxes, this market has often left the best of the world’s brands bewildered and gasping for what the Indian consumer actually wants. There’s a lot that can explain why Maruti still covers some 51 per cent of the Indian tarmac while Hyundai manages a distant second (about 16 per cent as per SIAM numbers for April 2017).

What will be left to figure out after Chevrolet’s see-off is more than the leftover market-share, if 0.32 per cent indeed counts. There may not be any immediate or visible effect on the taxi industry per se, but those who swear by models like Tavera (a classy beast that could carry 8 people at an affordable range) may have a question/gripe or two on what next. More so as compact MPVs from the stables of Tata and Mahindra are whizzing around.

Add to that the worries and expenses around maintenance and servicing that would be an out-of-the-blue jolt for those who invested in a Chevy car from a business point of view. This is where one is tempted to think of the credibility and stability-factor of many other non-indigenous brands. This may also affect the suspension muscle of cab industry when it comes to debates around unionization and accountability of aggregators. Having a certain weight as a union or a fleet owner allows more leverage for better service and spare-part terms in such situations than what an individual driver may dream of.

A corollary of Chevrolet’s bow-out would be a spurt of vehicles at attractive prices available in the second-hand or taxi-use market. Not to forget, of course, the inventory-clearance bash from GM itself will add many vehicles if the road stays smooth. Resale value criticisms notwithstanding, this could mean a lot of ripples for cab-owners and new investors.

Notably, GM suffered a set-back legally when it was alleged on emission and specification issues and asked to recall a good number of Tavera cars from the market.

As of now, it is nice to see that GM intends to manufacture cars in India for export markets and look after warranty, service package agreements and upkeep areas; but saying Godspeed here would be not so easy. There are many unpredictable questions that are still up in the cloud of dust it is leaving behind.





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