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General Motors to start exporting cars from India

Employees work on a Chevrolet Beat car on an assembly line at the General Motors plant in Talegaon, about 118 km from Mumbai September 3, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

MUMBAI (Reuters) - General Motors (GM.N) India said it would begin exporting vehicles from the country and start selling a left-hand-drive version of its Chevrolet Beat hatchback to Chile in the first quarter of 2015.

The company said it would begin production of the cars meant for export at its Talegaon plant, located in western India, in the second half of this year.

General Motors has two factories in India that can build a combined 282,000 vehicles annually, but it has been utilising less than a third of their total capacity.

GM sold nearly 81,000 passenger vehicles in India in the fiscal year ended in March for a market share of 3.2 percent, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Global automakers, including Ford Motor Co (F.N), are keen on making India a regional export hub, especially for small cars, taking advantage of it as a low-cost manufacturing base.

(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)