General Motors will introduce light trucks developed in China in India by the end of 2011.

GM India chief Karl Slym told Bloomberg News: “I see a large growth opportunity for this segment. A lot of hub and spoke delivery systems have to be put in place as the number of metros grow.”

LCVs made in China will challenge established Indian manufacturers such as Tata and Mahindra & Mahindra in India’s one-tonne truck market, which Slym says is likely to expand 15% a year. GM’s venture with Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp (SAIC ) makes LCVs for as little as US$4,000.

GM India currently does not sell commercial vehicles. Slym said the company eventually plans to make light trucks at a plant in Halol, Gujarat state, which has capacity for 85,000 vehicles a year. Before that, they will be assembled in Talegaon, in Maharashtra state, at a factory that makes models including the Chevrolet Beat and Tavera SUV.

Slym said GM would also start building engines in Talegaon from November and open a stamping plant in January. The engine plant will have an initial capacity of 160,000 units which may later be raised to 300,000.

The company sold 10,601 vehicles in India last month, helped by the January introduction of the Beat small car.