TOKYO Nissan Motor Co and its Chinese partner Dongfeng Motor Group unveiled on Wednesday a new brand for their local passenger car venture, saying the first model would be introduced in 2012.
The original nameplate, called "Venucia," or "Qi Chen" in Chinese, will sell vehicles developed and designed in China specifically for the local market, a Nissan spokesman said. He said he could not yet disclose details such as planned vehicle types and price range.
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 world's biggest car market.
Dongfeng Motor has plans for a new brand with a separate venture with Japan's Honda Motor Co. Honda has already created the Linian brand with its other Chinese partner, Guangzhou Automobile Group, with plans to begin selling the first model next year.
Dongfeng and Nissan operate one of the most successful ventures in China, called Dongfeng Motor Co, selling passenger cars under the Nissan brand and commercial vehicles under the Dongfeng nameplate.
The passenger vehicle arm, Dongfeng Nissan, also said it had produced its 2-millionth vehicle on Wednesday after seven years of operation. The company said it was on track to meet its sales target of 600,000 units for this year, with sales up 35.5 percent at 434,000 units in the January-August period.
"In the future, we aim to sell more than 1 million vehicles annually and the new brand will play an important role by offering practical models with class-leading quality," Fumiaki Matsumoto, managing director of Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Co, said in a statement.
(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Chris Gallagher)