Honda seeking approval to double China JV capacity

TOKYO Thu May 22, 2008 5:34am EDT

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TOKYO May 22 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co (7267.T) said on Thursday it was seeking Chinese government approval to double production capacity at its local joint venture plant with Dongfeng Motor Corp (0489.HK) to 240,000 vehicles a year.

That would bring total capacity in China for Japan's second-biggest automaker to 650,000 units a year. Honda has another car-making venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group and a 50,000 cars-a-year export-only factory.

A Honda spokesman said production capacity at the Dongfeng Honda factory, which builds the CR-V and Civic models, would be raised some time in the next two years, as long as there was demand in the market.

Honda sold 422,311 cars in China last year, up 31 percent from 2006.

With the planned expansion in China and other new factories announced by the company, Honda's global production capacity would reach 4.8 million cars in 2010, Chief Executive Takeo Fukui said on Thursday.

Honda has said it expects to sell more than 4.5 million cars globally in 2010, a figure Fukui said was "conservative". (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim)

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