BEIJING -- Japan's Mazda Motor Corp., one-third owned by Ford Motor Co., is looking to triple sales in China over the next four years and start production in the country, the company said Tuesday.
It aims to sell 37.5 percent more cars in China this year, or 110,000 units -- almost double how many parent Ford is expecting to sell in the country in 2004.
In the long term, Mazda is expecting sales of 300,000 vehicles a year by 2010.
"That's focused on our sales expectations," John Parker, Mazda's executive vice president, told Reuters on Tuesday. "That's what we'd like to accomplish in the China market."
Mazda does not assemble its cars in China, instead licensing two corporate units of the country's top vehicle maker, First Automotive Works, to make its cars.
That's set to change, Parker said.
"We clearly will need some production facilities to meet that target," Parker added.
"There'll probably be a joint venture partner."
Mazda sold 80,000 cars in China in 2003 for a 3.9 percent market share. Ford sold just 17,000 from its joint venture with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. Ltd., though that only began production last year.
As part of Mazda's plan, it will introduce eight models in China in the next three to four years, though executives were tight-lipped on details.