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JAPAN: Nissan Motor, Nissan Diesel and Dongfeng to form Chinese truck venture - reports

By just-auto.com editorial team | 21 November 2003

Nissan Motor and Nissan Diesel are teaming up with China's Dongfeng Motor Corp. to develop medium-sized and heavy-duty trucks for the Chinese market, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

The report cited the paper as saying that the low-cost trucks, which will be produced at a factory operated by Nissan and Dongfeng in Hubei province and marketed under the Dongfeng brand, will hit the market as early as 2006.

A Nissan spokeswoman declined to comment to Reuters on the report, but said the company would announce its medium-term business plan for its Chinese operations on Monday.

Nissan Diesel told Reuters it was in talks with Nissan and Dongfeng, but no decision had been made.

According to Reuters, the Nihon Keizai said that, in its business plan, Nissan will set sales targets of 330,000 commercial vehicles and 220,000 passenger vehicles by 2006.

Reuters noted that Nissan, Japan's third-biggest vehicle maker, was late to enter the rapidly growing Chinese market, especially compared with rivals such as Honda, but is hoping to catch up through an extensive partnership with Dongfeng.

In one of the broadest ever alliances between Chinese and foreign makers, Nissan aims to sell vehicles in all segments, from passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks, under both companies' brands, Reuters added.

The paper reportedly said Nissan and truck maker Nissan Diesel, which operate a joint venture that develops small pickup trucks, also plan to develop trucks specifically tailored to the Chinese market.

Reuters said that truck sales in China are believed to have topped one million units in 2002, making it at least four times the size of the shrinking Japanese market.