Today’s news that General Motors will launch Chinese-developed light trucks in India by the end of next year makes a lot of sense. After all, both countries have much in common.

Both are relatively large, and teeming with people, all keen to, one day at least, get ‘motorised’. Cities are modern, urban infrastructure is in place or, more so in India, at least getting there and the country areas still have a long way to go. While many city dwellers have made it into cars, in many cases, luxury models, the rural dweller still on foot or bicycle still aspires to a motorcycle or three-wheeler; the family loaded onto dad’s motorised contraption dream of an air conditioned car, one day.

People who grow or make things also have to get ’em to market. In countries like China or India, the daily people conveyance often also doubles as the load lugger. After half a lifetime of balancing mum, the kids and today’s harvest on the motor cycle all the way to market, Farmer’s thoughts will turn to a three-wheeler and maybe, sometime, a nice pickup truck, perhaps even with a double-cab so everyone, grandma and the stuff can be accommodated. Just look at how many pickups you see on the road in Thailand.

Now the trick, in markets where incomes are low, is to provide said conveyance at a price the potential, and yet un- or barely motorised, can afford. Step forward the SAIC JV in China which can knock out a passable pickup for US$4,000. The tightly protected Indian market encourages local assembly; so knocked-down kits will come over to be built up in-country. Sorted.

GM’s China JVs have sure made their mark. Who would have once thought that Buick – your father’s car as the US joke goes – would now be designed there with Chinese buyer preferences rated at least equal to those at home in the US. And the JVs turn out a variety of other models – such as sedan versions of cars we buy here in Europe as hatchbacks – tailored to market.

GM India is on a roll, too. Once a purveyor of Opels, it has now hitched its wagon to the Chevrolet brand and manaufactures and/or assembles a nice mix of mostly new GM Daewoo-designed models such as the Beat, doing well since its debut at the start of 2010. Then there’s the Spark and, appropriately, even an electric version in the works. And let’s not forget the locally-developed Tavera multi-purpose vehicle.

Outsourcing commercial vehicles is not a new trick at GM. Over the decades, the company has usually designed and built its own for North America. But, from about 1970, it handed a lot of responsibility to Isuzu whose large trucks replaced British Bedfords in many markets while useful one-tonne pickups went global with Isuzu, Chevrolet, Opel, Vauxhall and Holden badges. Similar arrangements continue today.