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Global auto news this week (2007.06.04 - 2007.06.09)

From| June 11,2007

This week most major markets have released the May sales report. The Japanese market continued a 23th monthly free-fall, the US market was still being devoured by the Japanese and S. Korean automakers, while the S. Korean market witnessed a steady rise with the imported foreign brands creeping closer. Other emerging markets like India and Russia also attracted swarms of new launched  models.

There are also other big news makers. Chrysler built a plant in Mexico and will lauch new models to reach its turnover plan; Nissan gears Up to launch 30 new models; Malaysian automaker Proton picked up the ceded negotiation with VW, but still no agreement was made; Toyota's hybrid car has a cumulative sales of over 1 million units around the world.

The hottest news this week are as follows:

U.S. sales rise 5.0 percent as Toyota passes Ford for No. 2
  From: Automotive News  June 04 2007

Most automakers saw their U.S. sales grow in May -- and it was a very good month for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., which set a monthly sales record and finished behind General Motors as the second-ranked automaker for the month.

Toyota Motor Sales' big month pushed it past Ford Motor Co., which was one of only three automakers to post a sales decline in May. And after five months, Toyota was only 40,024 units behind Ford Motor in total U.S. sales for the year.

U.S. auto sales totaled 1,564,170 units in May, up 5.0 percent from a year ago. For the first five months of the year, U.S. auto sales totaled 6,791,960 units, down 1.2 percent from the same period last year.

Nissan Gears Up To Launch 30 New Models
  From:Article Codex  June 05 2007

The Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. is planning to launch 30 new models through March 2008, the Associated Press reported. This move is anchored on the goal to compete closely with other automakers.

To ensure quality, the third largest Japanese automaker has built the $42 million Global Production Engineering Center in Zama city. "We are about to go on a major offensive," said Senior Vice President Toshiharu Sakai.

The facility is meant to prevent problems of new models such as when a digital design looks right but turns out inappropriate. The purpose of the center is to safeguard quality regardless of where the vehicles are manufactured - whether in India, Russia or in the United States.

Hyundai mulls new car plant in Russia
  From:Reuters  June 08 2007

Hyundai Motor Co. will hold meetings with St. Petersburg city authorities to discuss construction of a car plant, Interfax news agency cited a source as saying today.

The source familiar with Hyundai's plans told Interfax the talks will take place during the St. Petersburg Economic Forum this weekend. In 2006 Hyundai became the third most popular automotive brand in Russia, selling over 100,000 cars.

Over one half of Hyundai cars sold locally are already produced by the independent Taganrog car plant (TagAZ) in southern Russia under a license agreement.

Russia's car market is booming thanks to fast economic growth and consumers' increasingly easy access to credit. The country lures foreign automakers with tax breaks on assembly plants, while its largest carmaker, Avtovaz, is losing market share.

Sales of foreign car brands in Russia rose by 74 percent in the first quarter of 2007 to a record 295,469 units, according to the Association of European Businesses in the Russian Federation.

Toyota Says Worldwide Hybrid Car Sales Top 1 Million
  From:Bloomberg  June 08 2007

Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's biggest carmaker, said it had sold more than 1 million gasoline-electric hybrid cars, five times as many as its nearest competitor, since it introduced the Prius in 1997.

The company had sold 1.047 million hybrid vehicles including the Prius and Lexus LS600h as of May 31, it said in a faxed statement today.

Demand for hybrid cars is helping Toyota's sales gain in the U.S., the world's largest auto market, because higher fuel costs prompt consumers to pick more fuel-efficient vehicles including hybrids. Toyota plans to sell 1 million hybrid cars annually in the early 2010s.

Toyota, based in central Japan's Toyota city, forecast total vehicle sales of 9.34 million this year, including sales at subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd.

Sales of Toyota's most popular hybrid car, the Prius, tripled to a record 24,009 last month in the U.S., ranking it ninth among all vehicles. The surge helped Toyota sell 269,023 cars and light trucks in May, a record for the month.

Volkswagen Denies Report It Will Buy Control of New Proton Unit
  From:Bloomberg  June 08 2007

Volkswagen AG, Europe's largest carmaker, denied a report it will probably buy a controlling stake in a unit holding the assets of Malaysian carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd.

``This report is definitely wrong and only rumor without substance,'' said Andreas Meurer, a Volkswagen spokesman, in a phone interview today. ``We will have a round of talks soon.''

The Edge Financial Daily in Malaysia said today Volkswagen may buy a 51 percent stake in a newly formed unit that will own Proton's manufacturing, research and development and engineering divisions.

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