Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 343, April 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


TRANSPORTATION EQUIPMENT

CHRYSLER JAPAN SALES LTD. now is wholly owned by CHRYSLER CORP. For an undisclosed price, the automotive maker bought the remaining 30 percent of its local distribution unit from J. OSAWA & CO., LTD. The Seibu Saison Group member put up 85 percent of the capital to launch Chrysler Japan in 1988. In 1995, Chrysler increased its ownership to 70 percent. Company executives said that making Chrysler Japan a wholly owned operation demonstrated the U.S. automotive maker's long-term commitment to the Japanese market. The company's distribution network now consists of 53 dealer principals that operate 128 stores.

Price cuts and a right-hand-drive model set to debut in the fall are how GENERAL MOTORS CORP. plans to boost sales of the Chevrolet Blazer sport- utility vehicle. The company's import unit is projecting 1998 Chevrolet sales at 6,300 units, up 23.6 percent from last year's results, because of strong sales of the Blazer as well as the Camaro. The Blazer's sticker price now is 14.3 percent lower at about $23,300.

By early 1999, major automotive parts supplier DANA CORP. expects to have an Asia Engineering Center somewhere in Japan. Intended to help the Toledo, Ohio company better serve its original equipment customers in the Asian Pacific, the $15.5 million facility will work on the development of modular systems and assemblies incorporating Dana's axles, driveshafts and structural components as well as provide engineering support in the application of these core products. The center also will strengthen the computer-aided design and global communications services currently provided by the company's subsidiaries in Tokyo and Seoul.

HARLEY-DAVIDSON INC. motorcycles, parts and accessories now are available at 137 locations across Japan. The newest outlet is in Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture.

An exchange rate of ¥129=$1.00 was used in this report.
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