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Toyota to Begin Sales of Lexus Luxury Cars in China

Japan's largest automaker Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it will begin sales of Lexus luxury cars in China by the end of 2004 in a bid to tap into the country's growing luxury car market.

Toyota said it will initially set up six exclusive Lexus dealerships in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, adding that it plans to increase the number to 14 by the middle of 2005.

"We believe China has the potential to be the top luxury car market in the world," Toyota Senior Managing Director Akio Toyoda said in a statement.

According to the statement, Toyota will introduce four Lexus models -- the LS, GS, RX and IS -- when it launches sales in around October-December this year.

The automaker gave no Lexus sales projections for the Chinese market.

The Lexus brand is already well established in the United States as a popular luxury vehicle on a par with Mercedes-Benz and BMW. It was introduced into the US market in 1989.

(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2004)                  

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