Chinese joint venture vehicle manufacturing partners SAIC Motor and General Motors are exploring new business opportunities including vehicle assembly in India, a source told the Economic Times.

The Indian paper said the Shanghai-based automaker was close to taking a stake in General Motors India but did not provide further details. Sources told Reuters discussions between SAIC and GM were aimed at expanding their ties, including opportunities in India, one of the world's fastest growing vehicle markets.

GM produces Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet models in Shanghai with SAIC. The partners also manufacture Wuling-brand minivans and pick-up trucks in south China.

GM's two Indian car plants assemble a mix of GM-Daewoo-sourced models plus a locally-produced multi-purpose vehicle called the Tavera.

It said earlier this year it would stick with the Chevrolet brand for all models sold locally - the brand dates back to 1928 in India - but has also sold Opel-branded cars previously.

SAIC said only that it was continuing discussions on further business opportunities with GM, while GM had no comment.

Reuters noted that the GM-SAIC partnership is one of the most successful tie-ups between a foreign and local automaker in China. SAIC, the maker of Roewe sedans, popular with the young Chinese business elite, forecast a more than 70% jump in its net profit in the first nine months, after reporting a 47% rise in vehicle sales.

GM sold 55.6% more vehicles in China during the first nine months.

The GM India Halol plant in Gujarat has annual capacity of 85,000 units while a second facility at Talegaon in the western state of Maharashtra, with capacity of 140,000 units, started production just over a year ago. GM India now can assemble 225,000 cars a year.

General Motors India is also finishing off a 160,000-unit powertrain manufacturing facility at the Talegaon site with the first engines due off-line at the end of this year. It will be GM's first 'flexi-engine' plant making both petrol and diesel engines together.

Indian capacity could be increased by another 160,000 cars and 140,000 engines a year in a second phase, taking the Talegaon tally to 300,000 cars and 300,000 engines a year, according to GM's website.

GM India plans powertrain 'hub'