GUANGZHOU, Guangdong – Guangzhou-Toyota Motor Co. (GTMC) will build a new plant to increase its capacity for production of the Yaris, a new model to be introduced to the Chinese market next year, sources from the company told reporters.
As revealed, preparation for the new plant began already last year, and this project has received approval from the provincial authorities.
GTMC is a 50:50 joint venture formed by Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corp. in September 2004. With an initial output capacity of 200,000 units annually, the company only produces the sixth generation Camry for now.
GTMC announced earlier that it plans to sell 150,000 Camrys this year. In the first nine months it produced 123,854 and sold 124,135 units of the vehicle, according to CBU-Autostats.
The Guangzhou-based JV automaker expects to sell 80,000 to 90,000 units of the Yaris annually. Plus, it will also consider producing the Highlander SUV (currently being imported) if the market treats it well.
Since the hot-selling Camry has’t left the original plant with much excess capacity for the Yaris (and Highlander, probably), GTMC does’t have many options but to expand its capacity by setting up another production facility as soon as possible.
Sources say that GTMC will soon start construction of the second plant, which will take about a year. The new plant is expected to commence mass production in the third quarter of 2008 after several months of trial production, and then the total production capacity of the two plants will amount to 500,000 units.
According to Toyota plans for China, the Japanese automaker intends to hold 10 percent shares of the Chinese auto market by 2010. With the Corolla rolling off the assembly line of Tianjin-FAW-Toyota’s third plant last May, plus other hot-selling models in China, Toyota expects to see a 43 percent increase in sales in the world’s second largest auto market in 2007. Total sales of its two JVs, namely FAW-Toyota and GTMC, are expected to reach a record-high 430,000 vehicles by the end of this year.