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Friday, October 23, 2009

Sanyo to expand Hybrid battery production overseas

Sanyo Electric said Wednesday that it could begin assembling hybrid vehicle battery systems overseas as early as 2012 as more automakers gear up to expand production of environmentally friendly cars.

Such regions as Europe, North and Central America, and China are among the candidates for possible locations, Sanyo said during a briefing in Tokyo to outline strategies for its automobile battery business. Launching overseas assembly, which is solely domestic at this time, will help Sanyo expand its hybrid battery systems operations.

The battery systems, comprising multiple cells and control units, are currently assembled at Sanyo's Sumoto plant in Hyogo Prefecture for shipment to automakers. But with this factory busy handling production of nickel-metal hydride batteries for Honda Insight and others, Sanyo is investing roughly US$33 million this year to set up a new assembly line at its Kasai plant, also in Hyogo Prefecture.

Sanyo also filled in details about plans for a new facility to mass-produce lithium ion batteries at its Kasai site. In addition to making these batteries for hybrid vehicles, the 30 billion yen plant will begin monthly production of roughly 300,000 to 400,000 high-output batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles in fiscal 2010.

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