UK-based carmaker MG (Morris Garages) Motor on Friday announced the inauguration of its first manufacturing facility in India with a minimum investment of Rs 2,000 crore. The company would operate from the Halol plant in Gujarat, overtaken from General Motors (GM) recently.

MG Motor India would roll-out its first car from the plant in 2019 and have an initial capacity of 80,000 units per annum in the first phase.

A subsidiary of General Motors’ Chinese joint venture partner, SAIC Motor Corporation Ltd, MG Motors India had earlier signed a deal with the Gujarat government and GM India for transfer of lease of the Halol land. With this, the $100-billion SAIC would become the first Chinese auto major to have a dedicated manufacturing base in India.

SAIC had acquired the iconic British racing car brand, MG, in 2008.

Spread over an area of 170 acres, the Halol facility would be completely revamped by MG Motor over the next two years. Already, an initial workforce of 70 employees has been hired by MG Motor India.

Terming it as a “water-shed moment” for the company in India, Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director, MG Motor India, said that the aim was to contribute to the ecosystem in Gujarat by generating employment opportunities for local talent as well as leveraging the supplier base.

“The Morris Garages brand already has a huge resonance in India, with at least 500 owners in India since 1924, when the brand was first established in the UK. These owners and many passionate fans have expressed their curiosity, keenly anticipating the brand’s return to India,” Chaba said.

Around five global vendors of the company, too, are likely to set up their manufacturing base in Halol, and this is likely to entail an investment of another Rs 1,000 crore or so. These investments could generate employment for around 1,000 people.

MG Motors would not be the only new car brand to hit the Indian roads in 2019. Kia, a subsidiary of Korean auto major Hyundai, also plans to start rolling out cars from its upcoming Rs 7,000 crore manufacturing plant in Andhra Pradesh, being set up to produce 300,000 units a year.

Global players are betting big on the Indian market, which is amongst the fastest growing markets and is poised to emerge as the third bigger car market from the third position now. A total of about three million passenger vehicles (cars, utility vehicles and sedans) are sold in the domestic market annually while about 700,000 units are exported.

(Report: Business-standard)