NEW DELHI -- The Indian unit of General Motors, which has struggled to win local market share, on Thursday entered the compact car market launching a premium hatchback on its Corsa platform aimed at boosting sales.
Until now General Motors India has produced the German-engineered Astra, Corsa and Swing sedans in the country. It also imports an SUV, the Forester.
Its 2002 sales stood at 8,568 units in a 525,000 new car market dominated by cheap, fuel-efficient compact cars.
"It was important to offer a product in India that meets the need of a small car," Aditya Vij, GM India's president, said. "So we're getting into more main stream segments here."
GM's bigger cars struggle to compete with smaller and less expensive hatchbacks that make up nearly 83 percent of car market that is expected to grow by about nine to 10 percent annually over this decade helped by rising incomes and currently low penetration.
Vij said the launch of the Opel Corsa Sail would help the firm to address a growing segment of this market.
The hatchback, which comes with two engine options, has a showroom price of 439,000 rupees ($9,300) and 465,000 rupees in Delhi. It is aimed at the top-end of the 'B' segment which is dominated by the Indian unit of Suzuki Motor Corp., Hyundai Motor Co. and domestic firm Telco.