Dongfeng Motor Group, the mainland's third-largest vehicle maker, hopes to increase its domestic market share to 11 per cent this year from 10.5 per cent last year and expects to be cautious about overseas acquisitions. The Hubei-based company said it planned to achieve above industry average sales growth this year. Its market share fell from 10.8 per cent in 2008 because of lagging sales growth in commercial vehicles, such as buses and trucks, which were badly affected by the economic slowdown. It had a share of 10.1 per cent in 2007. Dongfeng, which operates joint ventures with Japan's Nissan Motor and Honda Motor and France's PSA Peugeot, aims to sell 1.65 million to 1.7 million units this year. This is 15.4 per cent to 18.9 per cent higher than last year's 1.43 million. About 1.25 million to 1.3 million units will be cars - 18.1 per cent to 22.8 per cent higher than last year's sales - and 400,000 will be commercial vehicles, up 7.5 per cent. Dongfeng aims to grab shares from rivals. The management expects the mainland vehicle market's growth to slow from last year's break-neck pace, which was buoyed by government subsidies for small-car buyers and rural consumers. The company projects domestic market sales to grow 15 per cent to 15.7 million units. Last year's sales leapt 46.2 per cent to 13.64 million units. 'Our view is that this year's economic outlook is more complex ... growth will still be relatively fast but whether sales will show a 'fast first' and 'slow later' trend, it is not easy to tell,' chairman Xu Ping said. He said Dongfeng achieved a 78.2 per cent year-on-year sales increase to 470,000 units in this year's first quarter, compared with 72 per cent of the entire industry. Of Dongfeng's first-quarter sales, passenger cars jumped 71 per cent and commercial vehicles doubled. The 41.2 per cent first-quarter sales growth for Honda cars trailed Nissan's 69.7 per cent increase and Peugeot's 70.5 per cent gain. Honda did not produce cars with engines small enough to qualify for state subsidies. To cope with demand, Dongfeng plans to expand annual output capacity to 1.7 million units this year, up from 1.42 million at the end of last year. It is building a third Nissan car plant with 240,000 units of annual capacity, slated for completion in 2012. Asked about the firm's interest in acquisitions abroad, Xu said it would only consider those that would 'raise its core competitiveness'. Rival Zhejiang Geely Holding Group recently completed the purchase of the Swedish marque Volvo. For so-called 'new energy vehicles', Dongfeng launched petrol-electric hybrid buses and placed 25 pure electric buses for consumer trials in Zhengzhou, Hubei province, and Tangshan, Hebei province. Xu would not give sales targets. Dongfeng is also developing hybrid and pure electric sedans, as well as natural gas and ethanol vehicles. Dongfeng also plans to sell 60,000 of its own brand of vehicles this year, after selling 18,000 last year. They are priced at 76,000 yuan (HK$86,400) to 96,000 yuan, compared with joint-venture products that sell for 70,000 yuan to 250,000 yuan.