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Toyota aims to topple General Motors as No.1
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Toyota Motor Corp has invested 3.6 billion yuan (US$529 million) to double the annual output of its Chinese venture as car makers increase capacity to meet rising demand.

It is the second production expansion plan announced by Toyota within one month as soaring oil prices boosted sales of its fuel efficient models.

Sichuan FAW Toyota Motor Co Ltd will be able to produce a combined 30,000 units of Coaster light commercial vehicles and Land Cruiser Prado sport utility vehicles a year after its plant was relocated to the Chengdu Economic and Technology Development Zone in southwest Sichuan Province, the company said.

Production is scheduled to begin at the first half of 2010. Sichuan FAW Toyota is equally-owned by Toyota and China's second biggest auto maker First Automotive Works Group Co.

Its subsidiary in Changchun, northeast China, also produces Land Cruiser and Prius hybrids with an annual capacity of 10,000 units.

Xu Jianyi, general manager of FAW, said Sichuan FAW Toyota has increased its sales by 6.8 times over the past seven years with sales revenue jumping nearly eight times.

Toyota, with an ambitious target to surpass General Motors Corp as the world's biggest car maker, is adding capacity in China, the world's rapidly expanding auto market, after seeing hefty sales for its energy-saving models.

Double capacity

It announced three billion yuan to build a second production line in its venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co in the south of China, which could double its capacity to 400,000 units.

Production expansion would further help the Japanese car maker to achieve 1 million-unit sales in China with 10 percent market share by 2010, catching up with earlier market player General Motors Corp and Volkswagen AG.

Toyota aims to boost its total vehicle sales in China by 40 percent to 700,000 units this year while its total production capacity is at 640,000 units.

It also runs five factories in partnership with FAW Group Co, making Corolla, Reiz, and Vios sedans in Tianjin Municipality.

(Shanghai Daily July 7, 2008)

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