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No. 359, August 1999

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American Companies in Japan


Nine months after DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG was formed, the American-German automotive manufacturer integrated most operations of CHRYSLER JAPAN SALES LTD. and MERCEDES-BENZ JAPAN CO., LTD. except their dealer networks. DAIMLERCHRYSLER JAPAN CO., LTD. now imports and markets Chrysler vehicles as well as Mercedes cars, leaving Chrysler Japan mainly with the job of overseeing directly run Chrysler stores.

Starting early next year, all GENERAL MOTORS CORP. vehicles arriving in Japan, whether made in North America or Opel and Saab cars from Europe, will go through the port of Mikawa in Toyohashi, Aichi prefecture. Importer YANASE & CO., LTD. decided to stop using the ports of Nagoya and Yokohama and to consolidate offloading in Toyohashi to cut costs. By 2002, Yanase will have predelivery inspection operations for GM, Opel and Saab products in Toyohashi.

Since GENERAL MOTORS CORP. spun off DELPHI AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS CORP. in May, executives of the world's top automotive parts maker have indicated on numerous occasions that the company is interested in building up its position in Japan. The first step in that direction was the purchase of a 5.86 percent stake in AKEBONO BRAKE INDUSTRY CO., LTD. Delphi bought the shares from NISSAN MOTOR CO., LTD. for an undisclosed but reportedly modest amount. Delphi and Akebono Brake are longtime (1988) equal partners in AMBRAKE CORP., an Elizabethtown, Kentucky manufacturer of disc and drum brake components. Now that it is a partial owner of the Japanese company, Delphi hopes to pursue technical collaboration and new customers with Akebono Brake. It is the brake maker's fourth- largest stockholder after TOYOTA MOTOR CORP., ROBERT BOSCH GMBH and Nissan.

Japan's first air medical helicopter soon will be in service. AERO ASAHI, LTD. will operate the Explorer helicopter, manufactured by the MD Helicopter unit of BOEING CO., for a Japanese hospital as part of a government-backed project. The plane's innovative emergency medical interior system was manufactured and installed by AIR METHODS CORP. of Denver. TOMEN AEROSPACE CORP. distributes the MD Helicopter line in Japan. In early 1995, Aero Asahi ordered 15 Explorer helicopters, including the one outfitted for emergency medical use.

An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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