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GM, Subaru unveil 4wd Traviq

TOKYO, Oct. 23 -- In a demonstration of the potential of the alliance between General Motors and Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the two carmakers unveiled a concept all-wheel-drive version of the Subaru Traviq minivan, which is a Japanese-market version of the Opel Zafira built in Thailand.

Neither company would comment on when or if the AWD concept Traviq would come to market. However, Takeshi Tanaka, chairman and CEO of Fuji Heavy, said, "We will actively work on the introduction of AWDs for GM."

The concept combines a Subaru AWD system with the Zafira-derived Traviq. It thus retains Subaru's brand-defining AWD technology in the Traviq, and raises the possibility of an AWD version of the Zafira or Traviq for the European market. No mention was made of European-market possibilities, however. Currently, there is no AWD Zafira.

The Thai plant already supplies Zafiras to Europe. The 2WD Traviq went on sale in Japan in August.

In addition, Isuzu Motors Ltd. showcased a concept model of a 1-ton pickup truck that it is jointly developing with GM. The two companies plan to build a combined 500,000 a year, for sale under each of their brands globally.

GM also unveiled a telematics-laden version of the Chevrolet Cruze: the e-Cruze. The Cruze was designed by GM's Holden Ltd. unit in Australia based on a Suzuki Motor Corp. platform, and is built at Suzuki's Kosai, Japan, plant for sale in Japan.

The e-Cruze is the only one of the three concepts that will be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show.

GM owns 20 percent of Fuji Heavy and Suzuki, and 49 percent of Isuzu.

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