Mazda Motor Corp, one-third owned by Ford, is looking to triple sales in China over the next four years and start production in the country, the company reportedly said on Tuesday.

According to Reuters , Mazda aims to sell 37.5% more cars in China this year, or 110,000 units – almost double the number parent Ford expects to shift in 2004.

Long term, Mazda is looking at sales of 300,000 vehicles a year by 2010, the report added.

“That’s focused on our sales expectations,” John Parker, Mazda’s executive vice president, told Reuters on Tuesday, adding: “That’s what we’d like to accomplish in the China market.”

The news agency noted that Mazda currently doesn’t assemble its own cars in China, instead licensing two corporate units of the country’s top vehicle maker, First Automotive Works , to make its cars.

That’s set to change, Parker told Reuters, adding: “We clearly will need some production facilities to meet that target. There’ll probably be a joint venture partner.”

According to the report, Mazda sold 80,000 cars in China in 2003 for a 3.9% market share while Ford sold just 17,000 from its joint venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co, though that only began production last year.

As part of Mazda’s plan, it will introduce eight new models in China in the next three to four years, though executives were tight-lipped on details, Reuters said.