Ford in Russia
MOSCOW - Ford Motor Co. is talking with Russia's central government about a new joint venture in the Udmurt Republic with the Izhmash company. The proposed venture would build 60,000 cars a year. Russian sources say Ford is also considering a joint venture in St. Petersburg, near where GM and AutoVAZ are planning a joint venture. Ford executive Wayne Booker confirmed that discussions are continuing. Ford's first joint venture in the region is a 6,000-unit kit car plant in Belarus.
No US Defender
DETROIT - Rover Group will stop selling the Defender 90 sport-utility in the USA because, without airbags, it does not meet US safety regulations for 1998.
Since it was introduced in 1993, Rover has sold 5,665 Defender 90s. For the final year, Land Rover is offering 300 limited edition models, decorated with green bodies, white tops and special cladding, for $40,625.
Frank S. Washington
Rover 211 to replace 100
LONGBRIDGE, UK - Rover will introduce a 1.1-liter, 62ps version of its 200 series hatchback in February 1998. The new derivative will be badged the 211. It will replace the 100 series, which will cease production later this year. The 100's design dates from 1980. The 211 will have three- and five-door variants. Power steering, driver airbag and the Rover walnut burr interior trim are standard. The car uses 7.0 liters per 100km on the EU combined consumption cycle. Rover expects it to cost under £9,500 ($15,400).
Polish Astra Classic
WARSAW - Opel will continue to build the current Astra as the Astra Classic in its new plant in Gliwice, Poland, next year. Tools and production will move from the Warsaw plant, which will switch to Vectra production. GM's new Blue Macaw world car will follow the Astra into Gliwice. Opel said that in 2000 it will be buying DM1.5 billion ($850 million) worth of components from suppliers based in central and east Europe.
TOCHIGI, Japan - Seatbelts that inflate in a crash will be fitted as standard in 1999 model year Honda cars. The section of seatbelt that crosses the wearer's chest inflates to become a mini airbag, taking up belt slack and spreading pressure more evenly across the thorax. The airbelt system was developed at Honda's r&d center at Tochigi.
Daewoo plans Morocco plant
Daewoo plans a $500 million, 100,000-unit car plant near Casablanca, Morocco. It will also build a television factory and renovate a five-star hotel, said Daewoo Chairman Kim Woo-Choong. Kim said plans for a truck plant in Algeria have been set aside because of the unstable political situation there.