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No. 365, February 2000

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American Companies in Japan


TRANSPORTATION EQUIPMENT

As part of its plan to double sales in the Asian Pacific region to 10 percent in 2004, GENERAL MOTORS CORP. will tap the sales networks of affiliates FUJI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD. and SUZUKI MOTOR CORP. to market its Chevrolet products as well as its German-made Opel brand (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 364, January 2000, p. 32). To do that in Japan, GM's subsidiary first must acquire from longtime partner YANASE & CO., LTD. import rights to these two nameplates. That is not expected to be a problem. Even after the transfer is made in the next few months, Japan's top automotive importer will continue to sell and service Chevrolet and Opel vehicles at its dealerships around the country. Yanase, which is strongest in the luxury end of the market, will retain import rights to GM's Cadillac and Saab brands.

The 2000 models of the subcompact Saturn S-Series sedan and wagon are in the showrooms of SATURN CORP.'s exclusive dealer network. The GENERAL MOTORS CORP. subsidiary hopes that the styling and technical changes made to the two vehicles will help it reverse its disappointing sales record in Japan. The new SL2 Sedan lists for between $15,200 and $18,900, while the SW2 Wagon has a suggested price of $16,100 to $19,000.

The American part of DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG has introduced the 2000 models of the Chrysler Voyager minivan and the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler sport-utility vehicles. All of the Jeep products are equipped with right-hand drive. The two versions of the Voyager, the Voyager LE and the longer-base Grand Voyager LX, are priced from $33,300 to $38,000. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited lists for $32,300. These trucks are sold through directly run Chrysler stores and DAIMLERCHRYSLER JAPAN HOLDING, LTD. dealers.

An exchange rate of ¥105=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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