TOKYO, Sept 14 (Reuters) Toyota Motor Corp plans to spend 0 million on a new car plant in Japan, aiming to take pressure off its other domestic factories as the automaker ramps up sales around the world, the Nikkan Kogyo reported on Friday.
The plant will have an annual production capacity of around 200,000 vehicles, and come on line in 2009 -- which would make it Toyota's first domestic assembly factory in 17 years, the paper said.
Toyota spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto said the automaker was always looking to improve its production capabilities but that it had no specific plan to build another domestic assembly factory.
The world's largest automaker sold a record 8.8 million vehicles last year, overtaking General Motors Corp which had held the title for the previous 75 years.
Toyota is cranking up its share of sales in mature markets in North America, Europe and at home with fuel-efficient models such as the Prius hybrid and RAV4 crossover, and is rapidly expanding in newer markets such as China and Russia.
This year it expects group sales of 9.3 million vehicles and aims to top the 10 million mark in 2009.
Domestic factories, helped by exports, are going at full bore and the Nikkan Kogyo said the new plant was as much about improving quality as it was about increasing production.
The start-up of a new factory would allow it to idle assembly lines at existing plants so that they could be upgraded.
The plant is likely to be located in northern Japan, possibly on the island of Hokkaido, the paper said.
Other media have reported that Toyota's main auto parts maker Denso Corp will build a plant in Hokkaido and that truck maker Isuzu Motors Ltd will build diesel engine plant there to supply Toyota.
Toyota currently has six assembly plants in Japan and 40 overseas.
Its shares were up 2.2 percent at 6,520 yen in mid-afternoon trade, in line with the auto subindex ITEQP.
REUTERS DKS ND1124