General Motors and Fiat Auto are planning a series of niche vehicles that would be on the market by 2003.

The new models would use current and future GM platforms and would be sold under both companies' brand names, said Opel Chairman Robert Hendry.

The vehicles fundamental basis would be on small- and medium-sized car platforms and would be used to fill gaps in the product portfolios of the partners in Europe.

The new models will be added throughout the whole product range for both Opel and Fiat. Both companies are planning to target different customer groups with the cars.

It is not yet definite as to what type of vehicles the partners are considering.

The niche vehicles being considered initially could be derived from the current Astra and the Corsa replacement due this autumn.