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Toyota Plans to Sell 150,000 Vehicles in China

Toyota Motor Corp, Japan's biggest automaker, Monday said it aims to sell more than 150,000 vehicles this year in China, the world's fastest-growing auto market.

The figure is up from nearly 100,000 units last year, said Toshio Furutani, president of FAW Toyota Motor Sales Co Ltd, a sales joint venture with China's First Automotive Works Corp (FAW).

The sales this year will include 105,000 vehicles to be produced in China, and the rest will be from its exports to the nation, Furutani said.

The sales target was released yesterday when Toyota launched the Corolla, its best-selling passenger model, in Beijing. The ninth-generation Corolla is Toyota's second passenger car to be made in China, after the Vios model.

The 1.8-litre Corolla will be produced at Toyota's joint venture with FAW in north China's Tianjin Municipality. The model, to retail between 175,000 yuan (US$21,100) and 203,800 yuan (US$24,600), will go head-to-head with a number of cars made in China by other foreign automakers, such as Volkswagen's Bora, Nissan's Sunny and General Motors' Excelle models.

Furutani said that more than 50,000 Corollas are expected to be sold in China this year and Toyota will increase the model's annual sales to 200,000 units in coming years.

"We hope our business in China will have a great leap forward this year with the launch of the Corolla," said Akio Toyoda, a Toyota board member.

Toyota has set a target to control 10 percent of China's auto market by 2010. The company is also making the Land Cruiser and Prado sport utility vehicles and Coaster bus at its joint ventures in southwest and northeast China with FAW.

(China Daily February 24, 2004)

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