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Honda Venture Cuts Car Prices

Honda Motor Co.'s joint venture in China aims to boost sales by lowering the prices of its flagship Accord passenger car and Odyssey minivan.


Guangzhou Honda Automobile Co., jointly set up with Guangzhou Auto Group Corp., had lowered prices of the Accord and would cut the price of the Odyssey later this month by about 20,000 yuan (US$2,415.46) each as a result of continued efforts to cut production costs, a Honda spokeswoman said Tuesday.


"Guangzhou Honda's price cut has largely been expected," said Alex Fan, an analyst at Daiwa Securities.


Price competition is heating up in China's auto market, which slowed sharply last year as the government stomped on the policy brakes to cool the booming economy and consumers put off purchases in the hope that prices would fall.


Automakers such as BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp. have cut the prices of their products in China.


Sales at Guangzhou Honda Automobile were strong recently even as market growth slowed. In January, sales at the venture jumped 43 percent year on year to 11,884 vehicles, the spokeswoman said.


Honda will launch the all-new Odyssey on March 13 in China at a lower price than its predecessor. The cut in prices of various versions of the Accord takes effect as of Tuesday.


As part of measures to beef up operations, the joint venture plans to increase annual production capacity by 50 percent to 360,000 vehicle in the latter half of 2006 from the current 240,000 vehicles.


(Shenzhen Daily March 2, 2005)


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