Toyota Set to Delay Launch of New China Output Line

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Toyota is setto delay the launch of a new production line at its plant inTianjin, northern China, because a decline in its Chinese salesis likely to continue for the foreseeable future, Japan's Asahinewspaper reported on Sunday.

Toyota had hoped to complete its new fourth line at theplant, with annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles, around December2014. The Asahi report, which did not cite any sources, saidrecovery of Toyota's sales in China would determine a newschedule for the production line.

The company is also considering a similar delay for thelaunch of a third production line, with capacity of about200,000 units, at its plant in Guangzhou, southern China, thereport said. That launch is currently set for 2015.

Toyota could not be reached immediately for comment.

Its sales in China have been hit by a territorial dispute inthe East China Sea.

Protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products brokeout across China in September after Japan nationalised two of agroup of disputed East China Sea islands, known as the Diaoyu inChinese and the Senkaku in Japanese, by purchasing them fromtheir private owners.

Last week, Toyota said sales in China, the world's biggestauto market, fell 22 percent in November from a year earlier.That follows drops of 44 percent in October and nearly 50percent in September.