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GTMC rolls off the Highlander in its new plant in Nansha

GUANGZHOU – The China-made Highlander SUV rolled off the production line on May 25 in the second plant of GAC-Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. (GTMC), a joint venture between Toyota Motor Co. (TMC) and China’s Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC).

With dimensions of 4,785×1,910×1,760 mm and a wheelbase of 2,790 mm, the locally made Highlander has 10 variants in 2.7L and 3.5L displacement. The 2.7L model is equipped with 4-cylinder VVT-i engine which can generate a maximum power of 140 kW at 5,800 rpm and a peak torque of 252 Nm at 4,100 rpm. The V6 DOCH 24 Valve VVT-i engine adopted in the 3.5L model can provide a maximum power of 201 kW at 6,200 rpm and a peak torque of 337 Nm at 4,700 rpm. All 2.7L variants are front-wheel drive with 6-speed automatic transmission, while the 3.5L variants are all full-time 4-wheel drive with 5-speed automatic transmission.

The Highlander will officially hit the national market on June 20 with prices of ¥248,800-¥429,800 ($36,058-$62,290) for its 10 variants. The Sino-Japanese JV has set a sales target of 20,000 units for 2009 and 50,000 units for 2010 for the high-end SUV, which is said to be challenged by the imported Dodge Journey, Kia Borrego and Hyundai Veracruz in the China market. GAC-Toyota dealers have begun taking orders since May 25.

“For a long time now we have positioned China as an important market,” said TMC executive vice president Uchi Yamada at the Highlander’s off-line ceremony held on the same day. “TMC is looking forward to continuing to work with our business partner GAC in strengthening GTMC’s foothold in the Chinese market and steadfastly increasing its operations, thereby enabling GTMC to provide even more products and services that will be welcomed by consumers in China.”

GTMC was established in September 2004 as a whole-vehicle production and sales joint venture between TMC and GAC in Guangdong Province. The company currently produces the Camry and the Yaris in addition to the Highlander

Last year GTMC sold a total of 172,678 vehicles, including 153,532 Camry sedans and 19,146 Yaris compact cars, according to CBU-Autostats.

Prices of the Highlander

Variant                              Price (¥)

2.7L Premium (5 seats)                      248,800

2.7L Premium (7 seats)                      262,800

2.7L Sport                                 278,800

2.7L Luxury                               298,800

2.7L Luxury (navigation system)         318,800

2.7L Supreme                             338,800

3.5L Premium                                   329,800

3.5L Luxury                               379,800

3.5L Luxury (navigation system)         399,800

3.5L Supreme                             429,800


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