China’s Great Wall Motor (GWM) has shut the doors on its India operations and the company recently fired the last 11 remaining employees in the country. According to a recent report, the Indian employees from different departments were given the pink slip earlier this week along with three months of advance salary from July to September. The report also states that the laid-off staff have been paid variable pay for six months. Neither of the employees was allegedly offered an alternative to work or relocate. The update comes as GWM’s agreement with General Motors (GM) in India was set to expire on June 30, 2022.
GWM made its India debut amidst much fanfare at the 2020 Auto Expo and the company was set to make a huge splash in the Indian market with a host of SUVs. The Chinese automaker had announced an investment of $1 billion (around Rs. 7,400 crore) and was also set to acquire GM’s erstwhile Talegaon plant. The investment would be used to revamp the facility and modernise the plant to build new vehicles under the Haval brand. The company signed an MoU with the Maharashtra government for the same. The plant along with an R&D centre in Bengaluru was expected to generate employment for over 3000 people in a phased manner.
GWM India was set to acquire General Motors’ Talegaon facility in Maharashtra before the government restricted investments from Chinese players
However, 2020 saw the Covid-19 pandemic forcing lockdowns globally, which delayed the company’s plans. Add to that the geopolitical situation between India and China changed that year after the Galwan Valley clashes that put all investments from Chinese players on hold in the country. In the past two years, GWM failed to secure regulatory approvals under the FDI regulations from the government.
The past year also saw GWM lose key members of its management team in India. Some of the high-profile exits including Hardeep Singh Brar, Director – Sales and Marketing, who left the company in March 2021 and joined Kia India. A year later, Kaushik Ganguly, Director – Strategy & Planning at GWM left the company. He was one of the first major appointments at GWM India and joined the firm in October 2018.
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