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Global auto news this week (2007.06.11 - 2007.06.16)

From| June 16,2007

A few automakers draw people's close attention this week---Nissan announced a record recall; Ford plans to sell its luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover;  Proton is close to deal with VW; Toyota will outsource clean diesel engines to Isuzu; TRW announces collaboration with China.

The hottest news this week are as follows:

Nissan recalls over 92,000 vehicles over clutch and seat covering problems
  From:MAINICHI NEWS  June 11 2007

Nissan Motor Co. is recalling over 92,000 vehicles for faulty clutch and seat covering problems, the company and the Transport Ministry said Thursday.

Nissan will recall 76,929 cars of Note, Tiida, Cube, Tiida Latio, March and Wingroad models produced between May 2005 and March 2006 and sold in Japan, the transport ministry said in a statement.

A crack may occur in some of the clutches because they are not strong enough and the car may stop in worst cases, it said, adding that there have been 66 cases of reported troubles but no accidents.

Nissan also plans to recall about 420 Tiida vehicles sold in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mauritius for the same problem, according to company spokeswoman Haruko Wada.

Meanwhile, Nissan will also recall 14,716 March subcompacts produced in September and December 2006 and sold in Japan because some of the covering for front seats are not sturdy enough, the ministry said.

Alchemy eyes $5.9bln Jaguar, Land Rover bid-report
  From:Reuters  June 12 2007

Private equity firm Alchemy Partners is lining up a 3 billion pound ($5.9 billion) bid for U.S. car maker Ford's luxury UK brands Jaguar and Land Rover, the City A.M. newspaper said on Monday.

"I am very interested in a bid for Land Rover and Jaguar in particular," the newspaper quoted Alchemy managing partner Jon Moulton as saying.

It said Ford had hired investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to sell its Premier Automotive Group (PAG), which also includes Volvo as well as the two British-based marques.

The newspaper said other possible bidders could include France's Renault, Dave Richards, who led a Kuwati-backed consortium to buy Aston Martin from Ford in March, and David James, who bought the rights to manufacturer Smart from DaimlerChrysler.

Proton-VW talks fruitful
  From:Star Publications  June 13 2007

Discussions in New York last week with Germany’s Volkswagen AG on a rescue plan for ailing national carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd have been fruitful.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he was told that a second round of discussions would be held in Bangkok.

The Prime Minister said he was told that the outcome of the talks in New York was positive.

“The fact that they want to have another round of discussions means that both sides are happy with the first results.

“Both sides are in positive mood,” he said when commenting on the latest developments on Proton’s discussions with Volkswagen.

He was speaking to reporters after opening the National Convention of Imams at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia here yesterday.

TRW Automotive (TRW) Announces Collaboration with Chinese Motor Vehicle Inspection Agency
  From:Streetinsider  June 14 2007

TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (NYSE: TRW) has signed an agreement with the National Center of Supervision and Inspection of Motor Vehicle Products Quality (Shanghai) to co-invest in dynamic test capabilities supporting the occupant safety system (OSS) development of domestic Chinese customers. Capabilities will include head impact and body block tests to correspond with legal regulations and a programmable Hydro-Brake system for crash simulation sled testing.

Formerly known as the Shanghai Motor Vehicle Inspection Center, the Chinese agency was upgraded to a national third-party testing facility three years ago in response to the growing needs for independent vehicle testing and assessment in the country. The expanded facility resides in the town of Anting, offering ten labs for comprehensive full-vehicle and parts testing, inspection and assessment.

The launch of two Chinese new car assessment programs last year has sparked national interest in the passive safety features of motor vehicles. Crash test results were widely reported and assessment standards received increased scrutiny.

Toyota to outsource clean diesel engines to Isuzu
  From:AFX News  June 15 2007

Toyota Motor Corp has decided to outsource production of low-pollution diesel engines to Isuzu Motors Ltd, the Nikkei reported, without citing sources.

Isuzu will invest about 30 bln yen to build a diesel engine plant in Hokkaido that will exclusively supply Toyota (nyse: TM - news - people ), which plans to use the engines in passenger cars sold in Europe, the business daily said.

The new facility is expected to produce 200,000 units a year from 2012 onwards.

By partnering with Isuzu, which has advanced diesel engine technology, Japan's top automaker aims to challenge Honda Motor Co (nyse: HMC - news - people ), which plans to introduce passenger vehicles equipped with clean diesel engines in Japan and the US in 2009, the newspaper said.

Toyota formed a capital tie-up with Isuzu last November, taking a 5.9 pct stake in the truckmaker. The two firms are jointly developing a 1.6-liter diesel engine that features fuel injection and catalyst technologies.

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