There's a big difference how fast companies consolidate in the wake of recent mega-mergers.
In South Africa, for example, Mitsubishi has moved quickly to transfer its production and marketing operations in South Africa from Ford to its new parent, DaimlerChrysler. Ford had built the L300 minivan and sold the Pajero and Io sport-utilities, while DaimlerChrysler built and sold the L200 pickup.
Now DaimlerChrysler will assume responsibility for all Mitsubishi production and distribution. To make room in its plant, DaimlerChrysler halted production of Honda sedans. Ford reportedly wants the plant space to build Land Rovers.
By contrast, Renault has yet to decide whether to build its cars at Nissan's assembly plant near Johannesburg. The company has considered its options for more than a year. The French automaker will produce its next-generation Megane there in 2003.
Andre Caussimon, vice president for sub-Saharan Africa, had said in October that he hoped for a positive decision before year end. Renault's South African fortunes are rising after a shaky 1996, when its distributor sold a few hundred Lagunas. Renault expects to sell more than 10,000 units this year. It expects to hold 10 percent of the market when it has a locally built Megane.