General Motors will launch the German-designed Opel Vectra line in India in the next two months, according to a Reuters report.

Reuters said GM, which has operated in India since 1996, has just 1.6% of the total domestic car market, though it has a 10% slice of the mid-size segment.

The German-engineered Opel Astra, Corsa and Swing models it makes in India struggle to compete with smaller, less expensive and more fuel-efficient hatchbacks, Reuters said.

Small hatchbacks dominate India’s 580,000-a-year car market with an 82% market share and mid-size sedans account for the rest, Reuters added.

General Motors India Pvt managing director Aditya Vij told Reuters the mid-size Vectra would be imported fully built and most likely would be powered by petrol and diesel 2.2-litre engines.

“There are other products in the pipeline — one next year and one after that. Every year we will launch a new product. The market is growing in different segments and we need to address those,” Vij told Reuters.

According to Reuters, Vij said GM India expected to sell 9,000 cars in 2002, slightly short of its target of 9,500 but well over last year’s 8,012 cars. Industry sales growth has slowed this year but will revive in the years ahead, he added.

“Although the car market has been relatively flat in the last two years, we still believe that in this decade we will start seeing growth of 8% to 9% levels,” Vij said, according to the Reuters report.

Reuters said the Vectra would be GM’s fourth model line in India and would compete with other premium family sedans such as the Ford Mondeo, Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord, Skoda Octavia and Mercedes Benz C-class.

Reuters added that the Indian ‘premium sedan’ segment is only about 18 months old and is estimated at about 5,000 units a year. All models in the segment are priced at over 1.1 million rupees $22,746), the news agency’s report said.