Ending General Motors’ (GM) involvement in car manufacturing in India is the sale of its plant in Talegaon in Maharashtra state to China’s Great Wall Motor. The deal, said to be worth between USD 250 million to USD 300 million (RM1.02 billion to RM1.22 billion), will allow Great Wall to enter the expanding Indian market for medium cost vehicles.

With negotiations expected to be completed in the second half of 2020, Great Wall intends to market the Haval SUV brand and electric vehicles in India reports Reuters. Plans for Great Wall’s entry into India will be announced in February at the Delhi Auto Show.

“The Indian market has great potential, rapid economic growth and a good investment environment. Entering the Indian market is an important step for Great Wall Motors’ global strategy,” said Great Wall’s vice president for global strategy, Liu Xiangshang.

Slowing sales growth in the China domestic market has prompted not only Great Wall, but also rival SAIC which builds cars under the British brand MG Motor, to explore overseas options for vehicle manufacturing and sales. GM had earlier ceased retail operations in India, with operations ending in 2017 after the sale of its other India plant to SAIC.

The Talegaon plant was utilised for small quantity manufacturing by GM for export with GM “exploring strategic options” for the site as part of its global strategy, said Julian Blissett, senior vice president, GM International Operations. With a capacity of 150,000 to 160,000 vehicles a year, Great Wall is expected to upgrade and modify the plant as well as set up a base for suppliers with production beginning within a year.