GUANGZHOU, China (Kyodo) Toyota Motor Corp. began production of the Camry in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, on Tuesday as it continues to shoot for 10 percent of the Chinese market by 2010.
The Camry, a midsize sedan, was fully remodeled in January, and Toyota is aiming to catch up with rival Japanese, European and U.S. automakers.
The car will be powered by 2.4-liter and 2.0-liter AZ engines to be produced in China.
Toyota will initially produce 50,000 Camrys a year at Guangzhou Toyota Motor Co., set up jointly in 2004 with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.
Output will be boosted to 100,000 vehicles when the plant goes into full operation, the company said.
Toyota Motor President Katsuaki Watanabe said he is hopeful demand in China will continue to grow but agreed the competition will be tough.
“With the Olympic Games coming to Beijing in 2008, the World Expo in Shanghai and the Asian Games in Guangzhou — both in 2010 — the car market will certainly expand,” Watanabe said. “But since there are many other car manufacturers (in China), competition will be fierce.”
The Camry is assembled in Japan and the U.S. as one of Toyota’s key vehicles and is widely viewed as a strong rival to Honda Motor Co.’s popular Accord, which is performing solidly in China.
The Camry brings the number of models Toyota is producing there to nine.
The Toyota group is aiming to boost sales in China this year by 50 percent from last year to 278,000 vehicles, including imported cars.
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