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New Toyota factory in India to focus on small family cars

From Associated Press| February 13,2007

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to build a new factory in India by 2010 to produce small cars as it tries to tap the growing automobile market in developing countries, a report said Monday.

Japan's biggest automaker plans to spend 40 billion yen to 50 billion yen ($330 million to $413 million) on the plant, which will be built near the company's first assembly plant in Bangalore, the Nikkei business daily reported without saying how it got the information.

With auto sales slowing in developed markets like the United States and Japan, companies are increasingly turning to developing areas like Brazil, China, Russia and India to ramp up production closer to growth markets.

Toyota has only a 4-percent stake in the Indian auto market, the Nikkei said. Smaller Japanese rival Suzuki, by contrast, has locked up about half the market with its small, fuel-efficient vehicles.

The plant will initially produce 100,000 entry-level, family style vehicles priced at about 800,000 yen ($6,610), making them the lowest-priced vehicles in Toyota's lineup, according to the report.

Toyota officials were not immediately available for comment Monday.

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