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Nissan Motor Co. will invest as much as 40 billion yen ($494 million) to build a fourth Chinese factory through its joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Group Co., the Nikkei business daily reported Friday.

The factory in Dalian city represents a move into northeast China by Nissan and meshes with the company's mid-term business plan codenamed "Nissan Power 88." Under that plan, released in June, Nissan is seeking to expand its footprint in emerging markets like Brazil, India and Russia while maintaining its focus on China.

The new plant will produce Murano and X-Trail SUVs in addition to electric vehicles, the Nikkei reported. It will have an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles and is to start production in 2014, according to a report that appeared in the Economic Times.

Nissan, Japan's No. 2 automaker by volume after Toyota Motor Corp., also plans to begin Chinese production of Infiniti brand cars at an existing factory in Xiangyang, Hubei province, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Nissan anticipates "high growth" in the Chinese luxury car market and is seeking to expand the Infiniti brand globally. The company has also said it believes "localizing production of Infiniti models in growth markets" is the best way to reach new consumers; it said, however, that no decisions had been made regarding local production, other than for the Infiniti JX in the United States.

"The mid-term business plan for China ... is progressing as planned. We are aware of the speculation surrounding our plan to build another plant in China, but as no decisions have been made to date, we have nothing further to say at this time," Nissan said in an email, according to the business daily.

Nissan's production in China rose 22.2 percent last year to more than 1.2 million vehicles, a record for the company, while its sales in China increased 26.7 percent. The company's production in developing markets like Brazil and India rose 31.9 percent.
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