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Japan's Honda launches new EV model in China

Bangkok International Motor Show

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Honda Motor Co unveiled the second model of its new China-only electric vehicle (EV) lineup on Saturday, targeting the fast-growing, battery-driven car segment in the world's largest auto market.

The Japanese automaker said last year it planned to roll out EV models under a new brand called "e:N Series" over the next five years with partners GAC and Dongfeng Motor. It began selling the first model in China in April.

"Honda is transforming itself into an electric brand in China with a series of unique and diverse electric mobility products that only Honda can offer," said Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe in a statement.

A key challenge facing Honda and its major Japanese peers, Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co, is catching up to rivals such as Tesla Inc who have forged ahead in the EV sector.

Honda laid out a target to roll out 30 EV models globally and produce some 2 million EVs a year by 2030 earlier this year.

Last year, it said it would introduce only electrified vehicle models in China after 2030, including battery electric, hydrogen fuel-cell or petrol-electric automobiles.

Its two joint ventures, GAC-Honda and Dongfeng-Honda, plan to build new EV-only assembly plants that are expected to begin production in 2024.

(Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)