Honda to export China-made cars to Europe
Japan's Honda Motor Co. is to export China-made cars to Europe and Asia next month, making it the first foreign car maker to launch a full-scale export operation on the mainland, an official said.
"We have finished construction of our new factory and it will produce cars especially for the foreign market," a spokesman for Guangzhou Honda told AFP.
He said output would be determined by demand, with the factory in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou producing the company's popular compact model Fit, which will sell under the name Jazz in Europe.
The cars will be destined not just for European but also Southeast Asian markets, added the spokesman, who refused to be named.
Under a joint-venture arrangement, Honda has a 65 percent stake in the export-only company, Honda Automobile, while Dongfeng Motor and Guangzhou Auto Group hold 25 and 10 percent respectively.
Previously, foreign car manufacturers in China engaged only in marginal export activity with their joint venture partners, focusing instead on selling in the rapidly growing domestic market.
However, as the quality and availability of locally made components increase, exporting cars from the mainland has become more feasible, especially for low-end or economy cars, analysts say.
Honda may be the first to set up operations exclusively for export in China but others such as German luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz have also said they are mulling new ventures that would concentrate on the export market.
In April, Mercedes said it was considering building new compact Chrysler models destined exclusively for the North American market, a move which could fuel US union fears of a relocation of jobs and an invasion of cars "made in China" to match that of other consumer goods and textiles.