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Truck and bus maker Isuzu Motors Ltd. unveiled a new 2003 worldwide sales target Thursday of 186,000 units, down 20 percent from the previous year.

The truck maker, an affiliate of U.S. auto giant General Motors Corp., attributed the poor projection to a reduction in its overseas sport utility business.

Isuzu said it plans to produce 430,000 vehicles worldwide this year, down 6 percent from 2002. Although its domestic production volume will decrease 21 percent to 182,000 units in 2003, its overseas production is estimated to rise 11 percent to 248,000 units.

However, its diesel engine production is expected to increase to meet growing demand in the European automotive market, an Isuzu official said.

The company announced the same day that GMI Diesel Engineering Ltd., a joint venture set up with GM last year in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, will start operations Feb. 1 to develop applications for diesel engines supplied for GM vehicles.

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