TOKYO -- The three Japanese automakers who partner with General Motors in one way or another -- Toyota, Suzuki and Isuzu -- intend to continue cooperating with the new GM when it emerges from Chapter 11 reorganization.
But it remains unclear what form those projects would take.
GM is deciding what to do with its Toyota Motor Corp. joint venture in California. Suzuki Motor Corp. has suspended production at its CAMI venture with GM in Canada. And Isuzu Motors Ltd.s ties to GM in diesel engines are up in the air.
Gloomy NUMMI outlook
Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe told reporters he hopes to maintain the 25-year New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. venture in Fremont, Calif., where the automakers build the Pontiac Vibe crossover, Toyota Tacoma pickup and Toyota Corolla small car.
But GM CEO Fritz Henderson was noncommittal after his companys Chapter 11 filing. The Pontiac line is being discontinued as part of GMs reorganization, and Toyota vehicles already account for nearly 80 percent of NUMMIs output.
There would be no need for NUMMI, Henderson said, adding that nothing has been decided.
Toyota spokesman Hideaki Homma said today that Toyota hasnt received a proposal from GM about how to continue. But a GM pullout would present two basic options.
We can continue by taking over GMs share or quit the California production project, Homma said.
CAMI cuts; Polish plans
Suzuki wants to keep producing at CAMI, an assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. But it has not decided when to resume output or what vehicle to make.
Suzuki had been making the XL7 SUV there but stopped production because of plunging sales. CAMI also makes the Chevy Equinox and Pontiac Torrent crossovers.
A Suzuki spokesman said his company also is hoping to get SUVs from GM for South America, as well as continued support in hybrid and fuel cell technology.
GM once held 20 percent of Suzuki but ended the 27-year tie-up by selling off the last portion of its stake in November to generate cash. Suzuki CEO Osamu Suzuki said GMs restructuring plan would have only a limited effect on his companys business.
Isuzu says the future of its Polish diesel engine joint venture with GM is unclear. That plant is expected to be sold to Magna International Inc., spokesman Tadashi Ioka said.
The Japanese truckmaker is also awaiting word from GM on its plans for the DMAX Ltd. diesel engine factory in Moraine, Ohio. GM owns 60 percent of DMAX and Isuzu the rest. DMAX does not appear on a list of factories GM plans to close.
GM once held 49 percent of Isuzu but has no stake today. GM also makes pickups for Isuzu in Thailand.
Says Ioka: I expect we will have talks with GM on this in the future, too.
Chieko Tsuneoka in Tokyo contributed to this report