GAC Toyota Motor (GTMC), a vehicle-production and sales joint venture between Toyota Motor and Guangzhou Automobile Group, on Tuesday held a line-off ceremony for the Highlander [Kluger] SUV, produced on GTMC's new production line at its plant in Nansha District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.

The plant will eventually have capacity of 360,000 units a year. The existing line can build 200,000 and the new line for the Highlander 160,000 but is starting at 40,000.

TMC executive vice president Takeshi Uchiyamada said: "For a long time now we have positioned China as an important market and have been expanding our operations here with the tremendous support of everyone from the national and local governments. TMC is looking forward to continuing to work with our business partner Guangzhou Automobile 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."

The China-produced Highlander - with a 2009 sales target of 20,000 vehicles - will be priced between RMB248,800 and RMB429,800. Sales began today.

TMC and Guangzhou Automobile established GTMC in September 2004 as a production and sales base. The Highlander is its third vehicle series, following the Camry, which went into production in May 2006, and the Yaris which GTMC first produced in May 2008.