Honda on Wednesday confirmed Guangzhou Honda's own-brand car project, as reported on just-auto last Monday (16 July).

The official announcement in China on Wednesday said the automaker's production and sales joint venture there had set up a RMB2bn (JPY30bn; $US265m) wholly-owned R&D subsidiary called Guangzhou Honda Automobile Research & Development to build a vehicle R&D facility, with full-scale high-speed test course, and develop "a new automobile product" for sale under a Guangzhou Honda brand from 2010.

"This new vehicle, which will be a unique product that incorporates various needs specific to the Chinese market, will be developed primarily by the R&D subsidiary of Guangzhou Honda while receiving support from Honda R&D," Honda said.

Many Chinese car buyers employ drivers so most local JV models are modified with improve rear seat comfort and additional equipment such as audio and air conditioner controls and DVD players.

Honda added that the "original Guangzhou Honda brand" would be differentiated from its own nameplate and that this would be the first time a foreign automaker's joint venture company in China developed and marketed a product using the local JV partner's own brand.

Since 1999, Guangzhou Honda has steadily expanded production capacity to match increasing sales, increased local content and strengthened itsthe dealer network.

"The establishment of an R&D centre in China represents the company's commitment to achieve greater autonomy in the area of R&D, in addition to production and sales, to position the company for further growth in the future as a joint venture company deeply rooted in the local market," Honda said.

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