• The Associated Press

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Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday it is in talks with Chinese automaker Dongfeng Motor Corp. to set up a car-making joint venture in China, a rapidly growing auto market.

No decision has been made, according to Honda. Japan’s second-biggest automaker already has a partnership with Dongfeng to make engines and parts in China.

Dongfeng also has an alliance with Honda’s domestic rival, Nissan Motor Co., to make cars.

Honda makes the Accord sedan and Odyssey minivan in China under a partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. signed in 1999.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Wednesday that Honda and Dongfeng will set up a joint venture to produce sport utility vehicles as early as next year. Honda denied such details were decided.

Foreign automakers often need to team up with more than one Chinese partner, and both Japanese and Chinese carmakers want to have several partners for bargaining power.

Japan’s top automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., produces Toyota-brand cars with FAW Group Corp. in China but is in talks with Guangzhou Automobile for a possible tieup.

Dongfeng and Nissan plan to make 550,000 vehicles by 2006, including 220,000 cars and 330,000 trucks.