Mazda is looking at a new production strategy for China in an effort to meet booming demand, according to reports.

Hisakazu Imaki, who took over as Mazda President last month, said the Japanese auto maker has lifted its sales target for China for 2003 by 56% to 70,000 vehicles – more than triple the 22,000 vehicles Mazda sold there last year – in remarks carried by Dow Jones’ newswire.

Mazda, effectively controlled by Ford with a 33.4% stake, currently sells three models in China which are built by FAW under a KD licensing agreement.

“I don’t think we can continue with this style forever,” Imaki said in an interview with several media organizations.

“We’re considering taking various steps,” he said, adding that Mazda is in talks with a variety of partners with the aim of crafting a new output strategy for China.

As sales of Mazda cars in China continue to grow, its Chinese partner’s production will likely reach full capacity soon, Imaki said.

Mazda has already sold 45,159 vehicles in China in the eight months through August, up 294.9% from the same period a year earlier, boosted by sales of its new Mazda 6 range.