The top stories from Automotive News Europe's February 1, 1999, issue -- and how they developed.
Nissan seeks buyer
Renault confirms it is talking to Nissan Motor Co. about buying a major chunk of Japan's No. 2 automaker. On March 27, 1999, Louis Schweitzer, CEO of Renault, and Nissan CEO Yoshikazu Hanawa signed an estimated E4.8 billion agreement in Tokyo completing the biggest takeover of a Japanese company by a foreign group. Renault took a 35 percent controlling stake in the struggling company (later increased to 44 percent). Schweitzer sent Carlos Ghosn, his second in command, to Japan to turn around Nissan, which at the time was more than E10 billion in debt. The long-term debt has been eliminated and Nissan's share price has quadrupled. Ghosn was promoted from chief operating officer to president and CEO at Nissan -- and starting April 2005 he will lead both Nissan and Renault.
PT Cruiser draws interest
DaimlerChrysler creates a list of potential customers for its Chrysler PT Cruiser even though the retro-styled car isn't set to debut until spring 2000. The initial demand for the car was high in both the USA and western Europe. The car hit its peak in 2002 when 173,657 units were sold in the USA and 24,574 were sold in Europe. D/C started to assemble the PT Cruiser in Graz, Austria, as a second plant for the car, but has since shifted that operation to Mexico. PT Cruiser sales slumped last year to 107,759 units in the USA and 21,076 units in Europe.