Nissan, Chinese partner to invest $8B in China

BEIJING (AP) — Nissan and its Chinese partner announced plans Tuesday to invest $8 billion and launch 30 vehicles in China over five years in an effort to nearly double sales.

The plan by Nissan Motor Co. and Dongfeng Group calls for building new auto factories and introducing a China-manufactured electric vehicle by 2015.

The companies said they are aiming for annual sales in China of 2.3 million vehicles by 2015, up from 1.3 million last year.

“The new plan, with its investments in capacity, products and innovation, will ensure that China continues to be Nissan’s largest global market,” Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said in a statement.

China is the world’s largest auto market by vehicles sold, with sales of just more than 18 million last year, a jump of 32 percent over 2009.

Global auto makers are looking to China and its booming economy to drive sales amid weak demand in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Nissan’s plans call for expanding manufacturing by adding new production facilities in eastern China to make light commercial vehicles.

A new Nissan factory for passenger vehicles is due to open next year in Guangzhou in southern China, and a factory to make commercial vehicles is due to open this year southwest of Shanghai, the company said.

The planned electric vehicle will be sold under the Venucia brand, which Nissan created for the China market.

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