Great Wall Motors, a Chinese SUV manufacturer with plans of investing $1 billion in India and generating jobs for 3,000 people, has reportedly shut shop in the country and laid off employees.
This comes after Great Wall Motors was unable to take over the Talegaon manufacturing plant in Maharashtra, which was previously operated by United States automaker General Motors.
According to Mint, the company had renewed the term sheet for the sale of the site between GM and GWM six times, but was still unable to get approval to fully acquire the site from the Indian government.
According to Reuters, the company's R&D wing in Bengaluru is operating as normal currently.
With the expiry of the term sheet on 30 June, the companies have reportedly decided to “terminate the transaction.”
The company is now looking to Brazil to invest. GWM has recently invested in a new facility there, and plans to put in about $2 billion dollars.
India's Crackdown on Chinese Companies
The reason for the government’s hesitance to allow GWM’s takeover in Maharashtra boils down to India's crackdown on investments from China, which gained momentum during the pandemic.
The Memorandum of Understanding to take over the manufacturing plant was signed around the time when the Galwan Valley clashes occurred, which made Foreign Direct Investment approvals even harder to get.
More evidence of India’s frosty attitude towards Chinese investments can be found in the removal of 59 Chinese apps from app stores in India in 2020.
Top management from the company’s India arm had also moved on. The director of product planning and strategy, Kaushik Ganguly, left GWM in March, and Hardeep Brar, the director of sales and marketing, quit in 2021 and is now working with Kia India.
Great Wall Motors isn’t the only Chinese automaker to have faced issues in India. Early last year, Changan Automobile withdrew from India after facing difficulties regarding approvals from the government for investments.
GWM and the Indian government had also run into a disagreement earlier in the year, where the company did not accept India’s proposal to sell completely built-up units of its premium Haval H6 crossover.
This was because GWM reportedly believed that the product, costing around Rs 60-65 lakh would not have found its market in India, especially considering consumers’ wariness regarding China-based products.
(With inputs from the Mint and Reuters.)