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March 14, 2003

CHINA: Honda joint venture plans new cheap saloon, more Accord models – report

Honda 's joint venture with China's Denway Motors will launch a cheaper car later this year aimed at the middle and low-end slice of China's booming car market, a company official told Reuters. "We will launch our first economy car in the middle of this year," Zeng Qinghong, vice general manager of Guangzhou Honda Automotive Co. Ltd., told Reuters this week on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, or parliament.

By bcusack

Honda ‘s joint venture with China’s Denway Motors will launch a cheaper car later this year aimed at the middle and low-end slice of China’s booming car market, a company official told Reuters.

“We will launch our first economy car in the middle of this year,” Zeng Qinghong, vice general manager of Guangzhou Honda Automotive Co. Ltd., told Reuters this week on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress, or parliament.

According to Reuters, he declined to reveal the new saloon’s price, saying only it would be comparable to the popular cars such as the Buick Sail from General Motors priced at around 100,000 yuan ($US12,100).

Reuters said China’s car market grew about 50% last year, passing sales of one million vehicles as rising incomes, lower import tariffs stemming from entry into the World Trade Organisation, and an explosion of economy models put the once-luxury item within reach of many Chinese.

Zeng also told Reuters the joint venture’s 2.4-litre Accord car, launched in China in January, has seen a “very good” market response.

The joint venture has increased output of the Accord, which costs around 260,000 yuan (US$31,400), to 380 a day from 240 a day in January, he told Reuters.

The company planned to launch new versions of the Accord with 2.0- and 3.0 litre engines in late March and early April at prices of about 230,000 yuan and 310,000 yuan, Zeng told Reuters.

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