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Week of April 3, 2000


 

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DC, MITSU MARRIAGE TO INVOLVE CARS, NOT TRUCKS
GM SETS SUBARU PLANS
GAP NARROWS BETWEEN RENAULT, SAMSUNG
U.K. TRIES TO STOP ROVER DEPARTURE
NEW Z WILL HAVE SIX-CYLINDER
SIDE AIRBAGS DON’T EQUAL TOP CRASH SCORE
VW ACQUIRES STAKE IN HEAVY TRUCK INDUSTRY
MAZDA RECALLS MPV MINIVANS
OPEC UPS OIL OUTPUT
NEW PROGRAM FOR HIGH MILEAGE TRUCKS CRITICIZED
BUMPERS FOLD IN CRASH TESTS
SAAB EXEC GETS GREENLIGHT

 

DC, MITSU MARRIAGE TO INVOLVE CARS, NOT TRUCKS As expected, DaimlerChrysler paid $2.1 billion for a 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi. According to DC chief Juergen Schrempp, the company will use Mitsubishi’s plant and experience in the small car industry to broaden its spectrum of small cars. The deal, which gives DC a controlling interest, makes it the world’s third largest carmaker. Saying that the deal will allow Mitsu to remain "essentially independent," president Katsuhiko Kawasoe said that the CEO and COO positions will remain in its control. Another senior exec at Mitsu said the CFO position would stay with the Japanese as well. After stating previously that DaimlerChrysler would consider partnering with another manufacturer to produce trucks for the Asian market, DC chief Juergen Schrempp recanted and stated that the company would enter the new market with its own products.

Schrempp told the Wall Street Journal that the company was done with making major acquisitions, saying that the Mitsu deal gives them access to the Asian market as well as provides the expertise they need to boost its small-car program in Europe. The chairman did admit that it was talking to Hyundai about a smaller alliance, but said that a deal with Nissan’s heavy-truck division was no longer of interest.

 

GM SETS SUBARU PLANS General Motors has announced that it will purchase shares of Fuji Heavy Industries, the manufacturer of the Subaru brand, as part of a plan to get a 20-percent stake in Subaru, according to the Wall Street Journal. To facilitate the plan, GM will purchase 25.4 million shares owned by Nissan as well as 131.9 million newly issued shares next month. Separately, a spokesperson for GM’s Opel subsidiary said that GM may still try to acquire Land Rover by outbidding Ford, whose offer was accepted by BMW last week.

 

GAP NARROWS BETWEEN RENAULT, SAMSUNG After another round of talks stalled, Renault upped its bid for Samsung Motor by $100 million. The new proposed price brings the two companies the closest yet in negotiations with an offer of $550 million and an asking price of $627.5 million. If Renault succeeds in its purchase of Samsung, it will be the first foreign automaker to gain a presence in the Korean market. If the two companies don’t reach an agreement, Samsung’s creditors said they would sell the company in an international auction.

 

U.K. TRIES TO STOP ROVER DEPARTURE After BMW announced that the deal to sell its Rover unit to Alchemy Partners would be complete in six to eight weeks, officials from the U.K. trade union said it still intended to convince BMW to consider other offers. U.K. officials are trying to clear a path for entrepreneur businessman John Hemming who has said he has five backers who are willing to join him in a bid for Rover. Separately, BMW said it invested $4.4 billion total in the Rover unit since its purchase.

 

NEW Z WILL HAVE SIX-CYLINDER Nissan’s new Z car, slated to debut in the middle of 2002, will feature a six-cylinder engine and be priced at under $30,000, according to Diane Allen, Z project leader, and Jerry Hirshberg, president of Nissan’s California design studio. The pair told Automotive News that the next Z will not feature the retro styling of the ‘70s version of the car, nor will it look like a made-over 240Z or 300ZX. Allen described the new Z as "trim and athletic, but aggressive and beautiful."


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