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FAW Toyota breaks ground for new Changchun plant

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Shanghai, October 28, 2008: ( Sichuan FAW Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. (SFTM), a joint venture between Toyota Motor and China FAW Group, held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for its new, 4 billion yuan ($584 million) plant in Changchun city, Jilin Province, Reuters reported.

Approximately 200 people, including Changchun municipal government officials, FAW President Xu Jianyi and SFTM President Haruaki Hoshino, attended the ceremony in the Development Zone of the Automobile Industry in Changchun.

The plant, Toyota's sixth with FAW, will have an annual production capacity of 100,000 units, with the Corolla cited as the model intended for manufacture, although a production date has not been finalized.

Toyota has already announced plans to expand two of its other car plants with FAW. It also has plans to add a second, 120,000-units-a-year line at its factory in Guangzhou with its other local partner, Guangzhou Auto, in mid-2009, eventually raising the line's capacity to 200,000 units a year.

The planned additions and expansions would bring Toyota's annual output capacity in China to 1.01 million vehicles a year, the report said.

Toyota Motor was reported to have considered such a plan in February this year. Despite the current slowdown in the global markets, Toyota's investment demonstrates its long-term belief in the growth and sustainability of the Chinese auto market.

An unnamed executive of a domestic joint venture automaker said it makes sense to add investment in this market for long-term profitability though it may not help much to weather the current crisis.

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