TOKYO - As his company's stock surged on the rumors, Nissan Motor Co. President Yoshikazu Hanawa hinted that he would be open to a tieup with DaimlerChrysler AG.
Nissan would 'seriously study' an offer to buy an equity stake in the carmaker from any other manufacturer if doing so would improve Nissan's competitiveness, Hanawa told reporters, according to Nissan spokesman Keiichi Tsuboi. But Hanawa did not specify DaimlerChrysler as a bidder, Tsuboi added.
That possibility pushed Nissan's stock price to ¥397, or about $3.61, by the end of the week, up 6 percent on the week and up 15 percent since the start of the year.
Although DaimlerChrysler's chairmen, Juergen Schrempp and Robert Eaton, will be in Tokyo this week, Tsuboi said no meetings are planned between them and Nissan's Hanawa.
Schrempp, at the Automotive News World Congress Jan. 10 in Detroit, said talks regarding Nissan Diesel are at 'an advanced stage.' But he was vague about whether his company is interested in Nissan Motor.
'There's a lot of confusion because I've spent now almost a week in Detroit, and I have now seen everybody marrying the other one,' he said. 'The fact that we talked to the chief executive of Nissan about Nissan Diesel adds to that kind of confusion. But then I pause, and I say, 'Who knows, huh?' '
Staff Reporter Ralph Kisiel contributed to this report