Tata Motors, India’s third-biggest car maker, said on Monday it had entered the South African passenger car market and started selling the Indica hatchback and the Indigo sedan.

Tata Motors will introduce four versions of the Indica and two versions of the Indigo, it said in a statement cited by Reuters. It will also start selling trucks made by Korea’s Daewoo Commercial Vehicles, which it acquired in March, in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2005/06.

Reuters noted that Tata Motors, India’s biggest bus and truck maker, has been selling medium commercial vehicles and buses in South Africa since 1997, and is setting up a bus assembly unit in Johannesburg at an investment of 40 million rand ($US6.5 million).

Tata is aiming to boost the contribution of foreign sales to revenue to 15-20% in the next three years from almost 8%, the report added.

The company expects exports of buses and trucks to rise by 50% in the year to March 2005 from 10,832 units the previous year, with a focus on countries in South Asia and the Middle East, besides South Africa, Reuters said.