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Toyota to Launch New Models in China
Japan's No 1 automaker Toyota Motor Corp plans to produce a subcompact car and a sports utility vehicle (SUV) in China in the middle of next year as part of its overall co-operation with the First Automotive Works Corp (FAW).

The subcompact model, from Toyota's subsidiary Daihatsu, will be made at Huali Automobile Co in Tianjin, a major industrial city in North China. Huali is a subsidiary of FAW, China's No 1 automaker based in Changchun, capital of Northeast China's Jilin Province.

The plan was revealed by Umehara Yuji, president of Tianjin Toyota Motor Co Ltd, in an interview with China Daily. Tianjin Toyota is a joint venture with Tianjin FAW Xiali Automobile Co, another FAW affiliate.

"The SUV will be produced in FAW's plant in Changchun," Yuji said.

However, the newly appointed president did not reveal further details of the subcompact and SUV models.

In August, Toyota formed a strategic alliance with FAW to produce and sell up to 400,000 vehicles annually in China by 2010.

Underpinned by Toyota, FAW in June acquired Xiali and Huali from Tianjin Automotive Industry Corp. The move is seen as the biggest shake-up of China's fragmented auto industry.

Yuji said Toyota will also start to produce a top-of-the-range sedan in 2005 at the second-phase facilities of Tianjin Toyota, which are under construction.

Annual output of that model is planned at 50,000 units.

In October, the joint venture launched the Vios.

"Our priority work now is to do well for the Vios as the first step towards our overall strategy in China," Yuji said.

He said Tianjin Toyota is speeding up production of the Vios to meet the increasing demand of Chinese consumers.

The joint venture has received orders for 10,000 units of the Vios so far this year, according to Yuji.

"We are very pleased that the Vios is accepted by Chinese consumers... And it is launched at a proper time on the market," he said.

(China Daily December 23, 2002)

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