UPDATE 1-Nissan China JV raises 2012 sales target by 50 pct

Mon Nov 1, 2010 6:23am EDT

* Raises 2012 sales target by 5O pct

* Jan-Oct sales tops 1 million mark, ahead of schedule

* To roll out at least 10 new models during 2011-2012 (Adds details, executive's quote, background)

By Fang Yan and Ken Wills

BEIJING, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor's (7201.T) China venture raised its 2012 sales target by 50 percent to 1.5 million vehicles, a senior executive said on Monday, as it keeps ramping up capacity in the world's largest auto market.

Nissan, a relative new comer in China, has been accelerating its expansions in the country along with partner Dongfeng Motor Group Co (0489.HK), a major Chinese state auto group.

In the first 10 months, Dongfeng Motor Co (DFL), Nissan's tie-up with Dongfeng, sold more than 1 million vehicles, two years ahead of its target, Kimiyasu Nakamura, president of DFL, told reporters in Beijing.

"Our previous goal was to sell 1 million vehicles in 2012, but we achieved that already. Our new target for that year is now 1.5 million vehicles," said Nakamura.

Nakamura attributed Nissan's robust growth in China to strong automobile demand and pledged to speed up its launch of new models to attract customers.

From 2011 to 2012, Nissan will roll out at least 10 new models, including Venucia, a new car brand DFL unveiled in September.

Venucia is the latest proprietary brand to emerge from Chinese ventures partly held by foreign automakers, as local manufacturers seek to put their own stamp on the fastest growing major auto market.

Most foreign automakers have yet to announce their year-to-date China sales data.

In the first three quarters, Honda Motor (7267.T) sold 475,643 vehicles, while Toyota Motor (7203.T) reported a tally of 582,000 units.

That compared with DFL's sales of 952,278 vehicles during the period [ID:nTOE69D07I]

Eventually, Nissan would like to take 10 percent of the China market, nearly double its current share of about 6 percent, chief executive Carlos Ghosn said during a recent China tour. [ID:nTOE68J01R]

Other foreign automakers are also expanding their foothold in China.

Korea's Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) is building a third plant in China, boosting its total production capacity in the country by two-thirds to 1 million units.

General Motors [GM.UL], which operates auto ventures with SAIC Motor (600104.SS) and FAW Group, said in September that it sees the need to continue growing capacity at its China joint ventures. [ID:nTOE68G01Z] (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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