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Toyota JV Releases New Mass Model
Toyota Motor Corp, Japan's largest carmaker, yesterday took the first step towards mass production of passenger cars in China by launching its newly developed T-1 model in a Chinese joint venture plant.

The model, named Vios in China, is to be produced by Toyota's US$100 million joint venture in Tianjin with Tianjin FAW Xiali Automobile Co, a newly acquired affiliate of the nation's top vehicle manufacturer - First Automotive Works Corp (FAW).

Toyota has not produced the model, based on the company's "NBC" (new basic compact) vehicle, in any other country outside Japan.

"The launch of the model marks the entry of Toyota into the increasing competition in the Chinese car market. The company expects to produce up to 400,000 vehicles annually in China by 2010," said Fujio Cho, president of the company.

In August, Toyota signed a co-operation agreement with the Changchun-based FAW to increase its sales in China to 400,000 units by 2010.

The price of the Vios, equipped with 1.3- and 1.5-litre engines, will range from 115,000 yuan (US$13,800) to 195,000 yuan (US$23,450), said Hasegawa Takashi, president of Toyota's Tianjin joint venture. "The Vios targets the increasing number of private buyers in China," said Tahashi, adding that the joint venture will begin to make a profit within three years.

The joint venture aims to produce 2,000 Vios this year and 30,000 units next year, Takashi said. It has set up 50 franchised sales stores for the model across China.

Toyota is also producing its Coaster buses in a joint venture in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, with another subsidiary of FAW.

(China Daily October 9, 2002)

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