Mazda is to build its new 6 in China, according to Japanese media reports that say the Ford-controlled company has agreed a deal with a Chinese company to assemble the new 6 sedan for local sale.

The reports say that First Automotive Works will begin assembling and selling the new 6, which has had good reviews from motoring magazines in Japan ( where it is called the Atenza), the US and Europe, as soon as early 2003 with annual output of 10,000.

Mazda plans to sell 200,000 of the 6 worldwide a year. The car was launched in Japan last year, debuted in the UK and Europe a few months ago (there is a major advertising campaign running in the UK right now) and is about to go on sale in the US, Australia and New Zealand.