BANGALORE, India — General Motors Corp. it plans to nearly triple the number of cars it produces in India to meet growing demand in the South Asian country.
The announcement came just weeks after the company said it would slash 30,000 jobs and scale back production in the United States.
GM previously had announced plans to increase production in India from more than double the 25,000 cars a year it currently produces in the country. Lawrence Burns, vice president for research and development, said Tuesday that the number of vehicles made in India would eventually reach 80,000.
However, Burns provided few details of GM’s plans for India, a country of 1 billion people with a fast growing economy that many Western manufacturers have long viewed as a potentially huge market.
Burns insisted jobs were not being moved from the United States, and said much of the new production would come from increasing the hours of workers already employed by the company, although he did say that some new jobs would be added. GM currently employs about 2,000 people in India.
Burns said the production at GM’s plant in the western Indian city of Halol would be increased in phases, but did not offer a timetable.
GM said in November that declining sales and rising health care costs would force it to close 12 North American manufacturing facilities by 2008 and cut 30,000 jobs, which represent 17 percent of GM’s North American hourly and salaried work force of 173,000.
The plan will cut the number of vehicles GM is able to build in North America by about 1 million a year by the end of 2008. GM will be able to build about 4.2 million vehicles a year in North America, down 30 percent from 2002.
GM also said Tuesday it would add about 50 researchers in India to its current research staff of 450. “Our target is to employ 500 people in India early next year and the hiring momentum here will continue,” Taub told reporters in Bangalore, India’s technology hub.
“The creation of research jobs here in India is consistent with the need for us to invest in the markets where we sell our products,” Burns said.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS