The Sino-Japanese joint venture Honda Motor (China) Investment Company has now exported 100,000 Jazz (Fit) cars to over 20 countries in Europe, allowing cars made in China to penetrate the European market which has the strictest quality requirements, and has won a reputation for products made in China, although its focus is soon to shift to Asia-Pacific markets.

The Peoples Daily said the joint venture between Honda Motor, the Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group and Dongfeng Motor Corporation specialises in manufacturing for export.

Since it started operation in April 2005, export volume has rised year by year. About 43,000 cars were shipped in 2007, generating export value of US$478m. In the first half of this year, approximately 24,000 cars were exported, accounting for approximately 18% of China’s total export of passenger vehicles, with an export value of $281m, making up 29% of China’s total export value of automobiles.

However, Honda last month changed the markets the Chinese plant will serve by announcing that its UK plant at Swindon would add the recently redesigned Jazz as its third production model late in 2009.

This marks a strategic shift for UK and European Jazz sourcing away from China and Japan.

For the last three years the right hand drive UK market has been supplied from China (cars came from Japan before that) but Honda’s UK head of corporate PR, Paul Ormond, said Guangzhou would now concentrate on Asia-Pacific markets.

Honda expects to build up to 30,000 of the superminis at Swindon next year, badged both Jazz and Fit, with volume rising thereafter, although a general global downturn is seen pulling down the factory’s annual output from 238,000 units this year to 206,000 during 2009.