DETROIT — It was little more than a year ago, at the North American International Auto Show, that American Honda Motor Co. Inc. honcho Richard A. Colliver found himself besieged by the automotive press. Inquiring minds wanted to know if a rumor spreading like wild fire through the press corp was true — was Ford Motor Co. buying Honda Motor Co. Ltd.? In the heady wake of DaimlerChrysler AG's surprise marriage, merger mania was at the top of every reporter's short list. Any tale, no matter ...

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