Dow Jones reports that Honda said Friday it expects to export from Thailand over 30,000 units of its new City sedan to Japan and other countries in 2003.

The Fit/Jazz hatchback-based model, launched in Japan on Friday as the “Fit Aria,” will be the first Thai-manufactured sedan car to be exported to the quality-conscious Japanese market by any brand, the company’s Bangkok-based Southeast Asian unit Asian Honda Motor Co. said in a statement.

Honda expects 80% of the Thai-made City sedan exports to go to Japan. The cars are produced by Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co.’s plant in Ayudhya province, 80 kilometres north of Bangkok.

The Honda City exports will add to Honda’s Thai units’ existing exports of Civic and Accord cars, motorcycles, parts and engines. Honda expects total exports by its various Thai-based units to rise to 36 billion baht from THB19 billion this year.

The new sedan will be launched locally at the Thailand International Motor Expo 2002, starting on Saturday, the report said.