Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co Ltd, a 50-50 joint venture between Honda and Dongfeng, plans to double its annual vehicle production capacity to 240,000 units in five years, from the current 120,000 units.

Xinhua reported that the venture - which mainly builds Honda's Civic and CR-V cars - will have a second assembly plant starting operations this year. This will increase the JV's capacity by 40% to 168,000 units, the report said.

Dongfeng Honda's executive deputy general manager Liu Yuhe said the venture is also expected to produce hybrid Civic sedans in the future.

Dongfeng Honda's sales last year stood at 127,012 units, double the 2006 level.

Honda sells hybrids in Japan, the United Sates and Europe and started sales in China last November.

Honda will start selling the Civic Hybrid sedan in India later this year as part of its plans to boost global sales of hybrid vehicles to 400,000-500,000 a year by 2010 (its hybrid sales currently around 60,000 pa).