Toyota Motor Corp. announced Thursday that its joint venture engine plant in Tianjin, China, has launched production of a new 1,300cc gasoline engine.

The new engine, which will be produced at Tianjin Toyota Motor Engine Co., is a 50-50 joint venture with Tianjin Automobile Industrial Group Co. (TAI). The engine has been exclusively developed for the Charade, a small passenger car produced jointly by TAI and the Toyota affiliated Daihatsu Motor Co. in Tianjin.

The existing Charade has a 1,000cc engine produced at TAI’s affiliated engine plant in China.

Sales of the model in China totaled 95,000 units last year, and with the introduction of the new engine, the Toyota group aims to expand its sales.

The plant will also produce 1,500cc engines for Toyota’s Corolla model exported for Hong Kong from Japan. Toyota will import 3,000 units of the engine and parts per month for the vehicles, according to the firm.

The plant will produce 150,000 units of the 1,300cc and 1,500cc engines annually. It will also produce 10,000 units of the 2,200cc engine for TAI.

Toyota has been making efforts to penetrate the Chinese market through auto parts production and sales. The Toyota group companies and Toyota related parts makers currently operate 28 firms throughout China via joint venture and other partnerships.

In another effort to increase its presence in China, Toyota announced that the Toyota Motor Technical Center (China) Co. will be incorporated as a Chinese base, and will further expand its operation for joint development of vehicles and parts for the Chinese market.

The technical center was incorporated in Tianjin City in February with a capital of 1.1 billion yen invested by Toyota, and the groundbreaking ceremony was held last month, according to the firm.

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