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China output jumps

Vehicle output in China tops one million units during the first quarter of this year, according to the China Assn. of Automobile Manufacturers. Some 1,019,700 units were made during January to March for a 54.7 percent increase. Passenger car production totaled 398,000 units. Second quarter production is set to top 1.15 million units.

New vehicle sales also increased to 974,800 units up 51.7 percent, the organization said. Price cuts and new products are said to be the reason for the growth, which is expected to continue through the end of the year.

Fiat/Suzuki to develop SUV

Fiat Auto and Suzuki Motor Corp. will jointly develop a new SUV by the second half of 2005. Suzuki will build the vehicle at its plant in Hungary and will also supply the platform. Fiat plans to sell about 20,000 units of the vehicle while Suzuki will sell 40,000. Suzuki will develop much of the vehicle with Fiat supplying the diesel engine.

Nissan unveils Sunny

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. unveils the first vehicle to be built at its new joint venture in China. The Sunny (also called the YangGuang) will enter production this summer at Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd. — the automaker’s joint venture with DongFeng Motor Corp. A 2.0L inline 4-cyle engine will power the vehicle, which will be available with either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission.

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