Honda Motor Co Ltd has just opened a new research and development center in China, the latest move by a Japanese carmaker to go local to bring more consumers in the world’s biggest auto market.
Honda said in a statement today the opening of Honda Motor China Technology Co in the southern city of Guangzhou is a move to strengthen the R&D, parts procurement and production functions in China. Lately, Japanese carmakers have been fighting to catch up with global rivals such as Volkswagen AG and General Motors in establishing local production in China to better reach consumers’ needs and also lower costs.
Honda said yesterday that its October China sales more than tripled from a year earlier. The sharp jump was partly due to the low comparison base from last year when sales were impacted by a flare-up in anti-Japanese sentiment following a territorial dispute. The company also previously said that of the 12 new car models to be introduced to China during the 2013-2015 period, five would be China-exclusive models, including two developed there.
The rivals are also there, as Nissan has launched its fifth global design centre in Beijing and in August Toyota started building a new R&D facility in China, with its local partner FAW Group.