Honda Expanding Production In China

SHANGHAI (AP) -- Japan's Honda says it plans to expand production at several factories in China to keep up with strong demand, raising its total capacity by more than a quarter to 830,000 vehicles a year by late 2012.

Guangqi Honda Automobile Co., Honda's joint venture with Guangzhou Auto Group, will spend 930 million yuan ($136 million) to raise its capacity to 480,000 vehicles a year by the second half of 2011, from the current 360,000 vehicles, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Guangqi Honda makes Accord sedans, compact City and Fit models, and Odyssey minivans. Its sales rose 19 percent in 2009 over the year before to 365,000 vehicles, it said. Sales in January-April were up 36 percent from a year earlier at 134,000 vehicles.

Honda Motor Co. earlier announced plans to add a second production plant to its joint venture in central China's Wuhan city with Dongfeng Motor Group.

Overall, the expansions will raise Honda's capacity in China to 830,000 vehicles from the current 650,000, the statement said.

Sales of all vehicles in China in January-April climbed 61 percent from the same period of 2009 to 6.2 million. Sales growth for the year is forecast at about 15 percent.

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