Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., maker of Subaru vehicles, isn't ruling out a strategic tie-up with another automaker, says President Takeshi Tanaka. “The future of FHI is to continue achieving steady development, building the brand and developing the technology that is important,” Mr. Tanaka says. “Corporate alliances are one method to do this — if it is a benefit to both parties. So we are taking a flexible stance (on partnerships). But nothing has been decided. We continue to study the issue from all angles.” Fuji has been talking with General Motors Corp. about sharing the company's continuously variable transmission and other technologies.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. says it expects industry-wide vehicle sales in the U.S. to drop 5% to 10% next year. Koichi Amemiya, head of Honda's North America division, says in published reports that Honda is basing its business plans for next year on a vehicle sales market in the 15.3 million to 15.4 million range.

Ford Motor Co.'s new Chief Financial Officer Henry Wallace says the automaker has no plans to launch a share buyback plan to boost its sagging stock price. On the product side, Mr. Wallace says Ford expects to sell more than 250,000 units of its upcoming small sport/utility vehicle, the Escape, worldwide. The SUV will be unveiled at the Detroit auto show in January.

General Motors Corp. President G. Richard Wagoner Jr. says the automaker has no plans to increase its stake in Isuzu Motors Ltd. or Suzuki Motor Corp. GM currently holds 10% of Suzuki and 49% of Isuzu. However, GM is considering building and selling a Chevy version of the next generation of Isuzu's entry level sport/utility for emerging markets.

General Motors Corp.'s Saturn division plans to expand its lineup and distribution in Japan and is considering Japanese production as part of its effort to grow in Asia/Pacific. The introduction of the new L-Series mid-size sedan is part of that plan.

DaimlerChrysler AG says it will sell its Chrysler 300M and PT Cruiser in Japan by the end of next year. The 300M will go on sale as a left-hand-drive vehicle by June, while the right-hand-drive PT Cruiser will hit dealerships by December. Additionally, the automaker says it may look for a second production site for the PT Cruiser. Demand for the small car is expected to exceed the 150,000 units DC will produce each year at its plant in Poluca, Mexico, starting in early 2000. While James Holden, DC president, says a second site has not yet been chosen, DC has considered building the vehicle at the Mercedes-Benz A-Class plant in Brazil.

Ford Motor Co and Mazda Motor Corp. will build a passenger car by the end of this year at their joint venture in Thailand, says Henry Wallace, Ford's new chief financial officer. AutoAlliance (Thailand) Co. currently builds pickup trucks. The passenger cars will be badged as both Ford and Mazda and will be sold only in Thailand.

Ford Motor Co. will be in limited production of a fuel cell vehicle by 2004, says Jac Nasser, Ford chief executive. Ford has completed much of the technical work for the FC5 fuel cell concept car and now plans to work on bringing costs down.

General Motors Corp. increases negotiations with South Korea's Daewoo Motor Co. Ltd. Talks between GM and Daewoo started in August and have intensified recently as the Daewoo Group begins restructuring its $50 billion debt. GM, which has a 4.5% share in the Asia/Pacific region but would like 10% of the market, is not negotiating a bailout. The companies are looking to enter into a global alliance, Daewoo explains.