Auto giant General Motors is struggling to sell its cars in the U.S. butÂ is making steady headway in India.
In the U.S., GM is shutting down more plants, cutting production, firing more employees, slashing wages for new workers and seeing lower car sales. In the third quarter, GM car sales fell 6.1% in North America. Recently, GM dumped its healthcare obligations to a Voluntary Employee Benefit Association run by the unions.
Overall, the outlook for GM in the U.S. is pessimistic, according to a recent story in the Wall Street JournalÂ (subscription required):
The struggle to turn the tide in North America promises to remain daunting for GM and its top competitors over the next 15 months as car buyers continue wrestle with overarching economic concerns, notably a sustained downturn in the housing market.
Â GM sales analysis manager Paul Ballew said on a conference call recently:
The U.S. is a head wind we continue to wrestle with on a global basis.
Bottomline, the sheen has worn off the GM brand in the U.S.
But India and China are silver linings in the dark clouds hovering above GM.
According to a recent AP story, GM more than doubled the number of cars it sold in India in the past six months.
GM is also expanding its dealer network in India and providing longer warranties. General Motors India VP P.Balendran said:
Finally, we are getting our products right, our prices right. And we have become more customer-friendly.
The AP story notes that for the first time GM’s market share in India topped that of its rival Ford.
In April, GM chairman Rick Wagoner was on hand for the launch of the company’s Spark mini-car in India.