Honda confirmed this week that its new joint venture Malaysian plant will begin producing 20,000 cars a year from early 2003, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported.

Quoting Honda sources, the news agency said DRB-Oriental Honda Sdn. Bhd. will manufacture the Civic, Accord and two other models.

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Other reports from Asia suggest one of these is likely to be the City, a small four-door sedan designed especially for emerging markets while the second will probably be a new-generation Logo city hatchback, due for launch in Japan and Europe beginning later this year.

Quoting the Honda sources, Deutsche Presse-Agentur said that the joint venture company will start building a plant on 320,000 square metres of land in Pegoh next month and the total investment is estimated at 5.4 billion yen ($US45 million).

Honda owns a 49 per cent stake of DRB-Oriental Honda which is capitalised at about 16 billion yen ($US133 million), the report added.

The remaining 51 per cent is split between Malaysian firms Orient Holdings Bhd. and its subsidiary Kah Motor Co.

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