• Kyodo

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Toyota Motor Corp. has asked the Chinese government for permission to create a holding firm in Tianjin, southeast of Beijing, to integrate its Chinese auto operations, company officials said Friday.

If successful, Toyota will become the second Japanese automaker after Isuzu Motors Ltd. to have a holding company in China.

By creating the firm, which it will wholly own, Toyota hopes to make its car production and marketing in China more efficient, the officials said.

Under the plan, Toyota and a local firm scheduled to start producing cars in China next year will form a joint venture under the holding firm.

Also coming under the holding firm will be Toyota’s other Chinese joint venture, which manufactures small buses, a parts maker and other Chinese sales units.

Toyota intensified its activities in the Chinese market in the 1990s. It sold about 20,000 vehicles there in 2000.

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