Serving the World's Largest Emerging Automobile Market
Home > Feature > Japanese carmakers expand business operations in South China

Japanese carmakers expand business operations in South China

Toyota, Honda and Nissan, the three leading Japanese carmakers with manufacturing facilities in Guangzhou, unveiled several new car models at last year’s Auto Guangzhou held in November.


This was a clear signal that Japanese carmakers are all gearing up to expand their business in Southern China, one of the country’s most dynamic economic growth areas.


Toyota: 10 percent market share


Nearly all the senior executives of Toyota operations in China were present at Auto Guangzhou. Wang Fachang, vice president of FAW-Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd. told CBU/CAR that Toyota expects to take up 10 percent of China’s car market by 2010.


Toyota expected to sell 179,000 units of cars in 2005, up 154 percent from 2004. Up to now, Toyota has set up 17 operating companies in China, including assembly, sales, investment, training, etc., which employ a total of 12,000 people.


The top Japanese automaker had the largest display space at the trade event, showcasing its Lexus, Crown, Prius, Corolla, new Vios, Reiz and the 2005 Hiace models and the concept i-Swing.


For its newly released Reiz in September last year, the company expected to deliver 10,000 units by the end of 2005.


Reiz is a value-added product,” said Wang. “This is a mid-level car, with luxury features. It is powered by a VVT-i V6 engine and equipped with a 6-speed  automatic transmission. Customers like its easy driving performance as well as its character. The Reiz best represents the Toyota make and brand image in terms of performance and price ratio, operating cost and aftersales services.”


Toyota plans to introduce the Prius hybrid car at FAW-Toyota in Changchun by the end of 2005. This is the first time that Toyota has decided to produce the world’s leading hybrid outside of Japan. The first 30 units of the Prius were imported last October for promotional purposes in major Chinese cities.


Yuan Zhongrong, executive vice president of Guangzhou-Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. (GTMC) announced in Guangzhou that the newest generation of the Camry will be assembled in July 2006. The Sino-Japanese carmaker has given the Camry a new Chinese name, “Kaimeirui,” to differentiate it from the imported model, “Jiamei” in Chinese. GTMC will conduct sales of the Kaimeirui through its own network.


GTMC was jointly established by Toyota Motor Corp. and Guangzhou Automotive Industry Group in September 2004 inside Guangzhou’s Nansha Economic and Development Zone with a 50:50 equity share. GTMC will adopt the Toyota Production System (TPS) to produce the Kaimeirui.


GTMC represents the most sophisticated manufacturing capability in the world. Some production techniques and expertise will be put into application for the first time in the world,” said Toru Kuzuhara, GTMC president. “GTMC is No. 1 assembly plant in terms of technology and equipment among Toyota’s 50 factories overseas. Along with Guangqi Toyota Engine Co., Ltd. (GTE), GTMC is the most significant strategic project for Toyota in the 21st Century,” Kuzuhara said.


GTE is Toyota’s first engine joint venture in China to target overseas markets. The initial output capacity will be 300,000 units, including 200,000 for export. A second production line is under construction and will be completed later this year, increasing the total capacity to 500,000 engines a year. A ceremony was held during Auto Guangzhou to celebrate the commencement of production of the AZ 2.4-liter gasoline engine, which is to be exported to Japan. The new Kaimeirui will be powered by the GTE AZ 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter engines.


Honda: best selling Accord


Guangzhou-Honda unveiled the 2006 edition of the new Accord at Auto Guangzhou. It will be powered by a brand new 2.4-liter L4 i-VTEC engine and features a new design of rear lights using LEDs as well as a slightly revised appearance.


The new Accord will hit the market in the first quarter of 2006. Special editions of the 2006 Odyssey were also displyed at the company’s pavilion.


According to CBU-Autostats, Guangzhou-Honda sold 168,165 units of cars in the first 10 months of 2005, up 19.18 percent over that of the same period in 2004. Sales of the Accord were 97,459 units, up 15.8 percent. It was the No. 1 selling car in the mid-to-high level segment and the fifth best seller among all passenger cars for the first 10 months.


Odyssey sales were 21,194 units, up 54.36 percent, ranking second in the MPV segment.

The Accord fully reflects the integrated high-level capacity of Guangzhou-Honda,” said company President Sho Minekawa. “With the Accord, as well as the Fit and Odyssey, we focus on product quality, sales and aftersales service. These are the key elements for their good performance in the marketplace.”


Guangzhou-Honda has decided to build a second factory in Zengcheng of Guangzhou with an output capacity of 120,000 units. The total output capacity of the company will reach 360,000 units in the second half of this year.


A Hybrid Civic was showcased on the stand of Dongfeng-Honda, Honda’s JV with Dongfeng Motor Corp. in Wuhan of Hubei Province. The newest generation of the Civic will officially go into production at Dongfeng-Honda later this year.


Dongfeng-Honda sold 20,839 units of the CR-V in the first 10 months of 2005, up 154.32 percent year-on-year. It became the leader in the SUV segment with a 12.94 percent market share.


Nissan: fastest growing


Dongfeng-Nissan Passenger Vehicle Co., Ltd. launched upgraded models of its Teana, Tiida sedan, Bluebird and Sunny on November 8, 2005. The company rolled off its 300,000th car on the same day at its Huadu plant in Guangzhou.


With sales reaching 125,536 units in the first 10 months, up 168.55 percent year-on-year, Dongfeng-Nissan is the fastest growing car manufacturer in China. According to its strategic plan, the company aims at output and sales of 300,000 units of cars by the year 2007.

In addition to the newly upgraded models displayed at the Dongfeng-Nissan pavilion, Nissan also displayed imported models such as the Fuga, Quest, X-Trail, 350Z as well as the newest concept car, the Qashqai.

Leave a Reply