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Honda Motor began production of its premium-branded Acura vehicles in China for the first time last week.

Its local joint venture company, GAC Honda, based in the southern city of Guangzhou, launched production of the Acura CDX model targeting the premium compact SUV segment currently occupied by the Audi Q3, the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the BMW X1.

The company aims to sell 10,000 vehicles this year, with the hope that local production will increase awareness of the Acura brand in China and help lift overall brand sales.

According to local sources, Honda sold 1,200 Acura models in China in the first half of 2016 – a 70% drop compared with last year, which makes this full-year target somewhat ambitious.

The company hopes that the cheaper, locally-made CDX model will help it compete more effectively on price with other Japanese premium brands such as Lexus and Infiniti.

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By GlobalData