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An electronic throttle is a dc-motor-driven valve that regulates air inflow into the combustion system of an engine. The throttle control system should ensure fast and accurate reference tracking of the valve plate angle while preventing excessive wear of the throttle's components by constraining physical variables to their normal-operation domains. These high-quality control demands are hard to accomplish since the plant is burdened with the strong effects of stick-slip friction, a spring, and gear backlash. This paper proposes a support vector machine (SVM)-based approximate model control for the electronic throttle. The nonlinear control law is derived directly based on an input-output approximation method via the Taylor expansion, which avoids not only complex control development and intensive computation but also online learning or adjustment. Only a general SVM modeling technique is involved in both model identification and controller implementation. The robustness of the stability is established by the Lyapunov method. The proposed nonlinear controller is verified by computer simulations and experiments.