Nissan Motor’s Chinese joint venture, Dongfeng Motor Co., said on Wednesday it would set up a $US40 million R&D centre for cars in the coastal city of Guangzhou, China, to begin operations at the end of 2005 and the new facility will work closely with Nissan’s R&D centre in Japan.

“By increasing localisation of development work for Dongfeng’s China models and making use of Nissan’s global R&D technologies, the new centre is expected to contribute to the reduction of Dongfeng’s costs, while maintaining Nissan’s global quality levels,” Dongfeng Motor vice president Tong Dongcheng said in a statement cited by the Reuters news agency.

The report noted that, under a four-year business plan announced last November, Dongfeng Motor plans to launch five passenger models in China, aiming for sales of 300,000 units by 2007 compared with the 74,000 sold last year.