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<B><I>Ward's Auto News</I></B> reports the following story:

Toyota Motor Corp. will begin selling Lexus luxury cars in China by year’s end.

“We believe China has the potential to be the top luxury car market in the world,” says Akio Toyoda, senior managing director. “We are committed to continuing our investments in China by bringing the best product, the best dealership and the best customer service.”

Toyota, which made the announcement in China on the eve of this week’s Beijing auto show, says it will have six Lexus dealerships in place in four cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – by the fourth quarter. It expects to increase its dealer network to 14 by mid-2005.

Toyota says it will invest heavily in the dealerships, including financing the design and construction of the showrooms and training of the dealership personnel.

The auto maker doesn’t say how many Lexus vehicles it expects to sell or which models it will offer in China. On display at the auto show are the LS 430 and RX 300/RX 330, as well as the LFS concept that bowed at last year's Tokyo Auto Show.

A separate article from <B>www.chinaview.cn</B>, however, states that Toyota will introduce four Lexus models -- the LS, GS, RX and IS -- when it launches sales in around October-December this year.
 
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