SHANGHAI—Japanese automakers are looking to add “luxury” to their brand image for China’s lucrative high-end market, which is dominated by German companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
According to Hiroji Onishi, who heads Toyota Motor Corp.’s Chinese operations, the company is considering production of its luxury Lexus brand vehicles in China.
“We want to start (local production) because China is the second-largest market for Lexus models outside Japan (after North America),” Onishi said at the Shanghai international motor show on April 21.
The timing will be decided depending on sales increases and other factors, he added.
Honda Motor Co. will start manufacturing a sport utility vehicle from its luxury Acura line in China within three years, Honda President Takanobu Ito said April 20.
Last year, Nissan Motor Co. announced that it will begin assembling two models from its luxury Infiniti brand in China in 2014.
In 2012, 1.2 million vehicles priced more than 200,000 yuan (3.2 million yen, or $30,000) were sold in China, making it the world’s second-largest market for luxury vehicles. Sales are expected to increase substantially in the coming years.
(This article was written by Keiko Nannichi and Tokuhiko Saito.)
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