China's Dongfeng Motor Group has said it will start production this month of its first self-developed passenger car.

The Fengshen S30 is a four door sedan powered by a 1.6 litre engine. The chassis and exterior is said to borrow European design concepts while the engine and transmission are largely units from PSA Peugeot Citroen and Aisin Seiki.

The car is expected to go on sale in China later this year priced at around RMB100,000 (US$14,660).

Dongfeng Motor currently makes and markets commercial vehicles under its own brand but, until now, its passenger cars has always been developed through joint ventures with foreign automakers. The JV with Honda, Dongfeng Honda, booked April sales of 16,050, off 5.68%, though its tally for the first four months was up 1.8% to 59,119, just-auto reported today.

Donfeng has completed the first of a two-phase factory construction programme at its plant in Guangzhou which will give it the capacity to assemble around 160,000 S30 models a year.

The car will be sold through Dongfeng's 54 dealers in China, although the company intends to increase this to 80 by the end of the year.