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Suzuki Motor mulls exiting Chinese market amid slumping sales

This file photo taken in June 2016 shows Suzuki Motor Corp.'s head office in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Suzuki Motor Corp. has been discussing with its Chinese car-making partner ending their partnership due to slumping sales, industry sources said Thursday.

The Japanese automaker is carefully contemplating the option as once it exited the world's largest automobile market, it would be difficult to re-enter, the sources said.

Chongqing Changan Suzuki Automobile Co., a joint venture between Suzuki and Changan Automobile Co., has been struggling to halt declining sales. New vehicles sold by the joint venture in fiscal 2017 plunged 28 percent from the year earlier to around 79,000.

The Japanese and Chinese carmakers are also studying an option of disbanding the joint company and letting Changan Automobile continue manufacturing Suzuki brand vehicles under license.

The slow sales are partly due Chinese consumer tastes. While Suzuki specializing in making compact cars, Chinese consumers favor large vehicles.

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