GUANGZHOU, China -- Toyota Motor Corp. said it is on pace to sell 278,000 cars in China this year, an increase of 52 percent from last year.
Toyota, which has lagged some of its global rivals in China, began making its flagship Camry model for China in May at its Guangzhou Toyota Motor Corp. joint venture here.
The automaker has received orders for 24,000 Camrys, said Toyota Executive Vice President Yoshimi Inaba.
"We are in full operation," he said at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition here this week.
Toyota does not plan to follow its Japanese rival Honda Motor Co. and use Guangzhou as a platform to export cars, at least for now.
"Production capacities are clearly in line with the China market," said Bob Maling, senior adviser for sales and marketing with Guangzhou Toyota. "There's not a need, and it's too early too early in the relationship (with Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group) to discuss, even for ourselves internally, will we be exporting the product?"
Still, when asked if the company planned to make other Toyota models in Guangzhou, Maling said, "You can imagine, yes, there will be a very bright future, but as of today we haven't announced any other product."
Company officials told Japanese media that they plan to double capacity of its Guangzhou plant to 200,000 cars a year, and that 70,000 engines have been exported since November from a second joint venture it has with Guangzhou Automobile.
The company started making its Prius hybrid in China in December as well, Inaba said.
Toyota sold 183,000 cars in China last year, and 125,000 in the first six months of 2006, Inaba said.
At the show, Toyota introduced two Lexus sedans, the ES 350 and the IS 300, and said it has established 12 Lexus dealerships since launching the brand in China in early 2005.
Toyota began selling both cars in the country in June. The other models in the China lineup are the GS 430 and GS 300 sports sedans, LS 430 sedan, RX 350 SUV, LX 470 full-sized SUV and SC 430 coupe.
The company also has an older joint venture with China FAW Group Corp. in the northeastern part of the country.
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