TOKYO - In addition to taking control of Daewoo Motor's Korean car plants, General Motors may resume building cars in Japan, some 60 years after it left the country.
GM is likely to either buy a factory in Japan or to build cars at a plant owned by its affiliate Suzuki Motor Corp., according to reports published here. GM owns 10 percent of Suzuki.
In a statement, Suzuki would only say that the two companies continue to discuss 'various possibilities' for cooperation.
However, President Osamu Suzuki told the Nikkei Sangyo newspaper that GM is looking at Suzuki's Kosai plant as a possible production base for an 'Asian car.' Indonesia is also in contention, he said.
Suzuki said the topic was discussed during conversations he had with GM top management in Detroit after the shareholders meeting of CAMI, the Canadian joint venture between GM and Suzuki.
Kosai is currently at full capacity, building Japan's best-selling Wagon R and other vehicles. One derivative it builds, the Wagon R+, is similar to a vehicle that GM's Adam Opel AG unit has developed jointly with Suzuki for production and sale in Europe.
Kosai's output may slow after September, when demand for the Wagon R and other minivehicles under 660cc is expected to ease, Suzuki noted. 'We need to think of five years and 10 years ahead,' he told the newspaper.
GM and Ford Motor Co. built cars in Japan in the 1920s. Both were forced to leave when Japan's militaristic government nationalized the auto industry in the 1930s.