Daihatsu eyes FAW tieup on production of minicars

OSAKA — Daihatsu Motor Co. plans to start joint production of minicars and other vehicles with FAW Group Corp., China’s biggest automaker, by 2005, Daihatsu officials said Thursday.

The move follows a comprehensive tieup between Daihatsu parent Toyota Motor Corp. and FAW in August and will be part of Toyota’s strategic operations in China.

Daihatsu will invest more than 20 billion yen in the joint venture, which will be set up as early as 2004, the officials said.

Much of the investment in the planned venture will be spent on building the factory, they said.

The vehicles will be mainly for the Chinese market and annual production will be gradually increased to around 100,000 units.

Demand for cars is growing in China in large cities, and Daihatsu has decided that “there is plenty of growth potential in the minicar market,” an official said.

Daihatsu and FAW will decide on the details of the joint venture in future negotiations, the officials said.

Daihatsu’s Mira and Move minicars are expected to be candidate models for production as well as the Terios subcompact sport-utility vehicle.

Suzuki on a roll

SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) Suzuki Motor Corp. has boosted its group sales projection for the fiscal first half to more than 1 trillion yen, an increase of some 20 percent over a year earlier, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The firm attributed the revision to favorable vehicle sales and increased production of minivehicles supplied to Nissan Motor Co.

In June, Suzuki boosted its group sales outlook to 910 billion yen, having upped its stake in Maruti Udyog Ltd., its joint car venture with the Indian government, to 54.2 percent in May.

Suzuki also plans to lift its projected group sales for the full fiscal year from 1.98 trillion yen to more than 2 trillion yen, the spokesman said.

Suzuki is owned 20 percent by General Motors Corp. of the United States.