Toyota to resume new plant construction in China image

Toyota Motor Corp will resume construction on a new plant in China to meet growing Chinese demand, the Nikkei business daily reported yesterday.

The plant, located in northeastern city of Changchun, will be built as a joint venture with major Chinese automaker FAW Group Corp and may become operational by the end of March 2011.

In October 2008, Toyota broke ground on the plant, which will have an annual production capacity of 100,000 units, but the Japanese automaker suspended the plan due to the economic crisis at the time.

In Changchun, where FAW is headquartered, Toyota already has a plant, making the Prius gasoline-electric hybrid car. Corolla models were previously slated for production at the plant, but the plan might be changed as Toyota is reviewing its China strategy.

However, Tokyo-based spokesman Hideaki Homma earlier told media that nothing had been decided about the plant in China. Toyota has also halted construction of a new plant in the U.S. and may be rethinking its production strategy.

Toyota expects sales of 700,000 vehicles in the Chinese market this year and aims to sell at least 800,000 units there next year.

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