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Japanese material makers jumping on green car bandwagon

JFE Steel's Thailand factory makes steel sheets for cars.

TOKYO -- Major steel, rubber and chemical companies are ramping up Asian production of materials used in fuel-efficient vehicles, anticipating a market expansion fueled by tighter emissions standards in the region.

     JFE Steel began trial production this summer at a Thai facility of a superstrong steel nearly twice as robust as regular high-tensile steel. Up to now, the company has exported the steel from Japan. The JFE Holdings unit is expanding orders from large automakers, aiming to achieve an annual output on a scale of tens of thousands of tons.

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