Toyota has agreed to buy from General Motors an 8.7% stake in Subaru vehicle maker Fuji Heavy Industries officials from both companies told the Associated Press (AP) on Wednesday. The report added that the deal will make Toyota the top shareholder in the company.

Toyota executive vice president Mitsuo Kinoshita and Fuji Heavy president Kyoji Takenaka told the news agency that GM and Fuji have agreed to dissolve their alliance and capital relationship - GM will sell its remaining 11.4% stake in Fuji in the market.

Toyota and Fuji are setting up a steering committee to try to reach an agreement on future collaboration as soon as possible, the companies said.

The Associated Press noted that GM and Toyota have a long-standing partnership to share environmental technology, and run the New United Motor Manufacturing (NUMMI) assembly plant in Fresno, California, together, although the ties do not involve holding stakes in each other.

AP added that Toyota also holds stakes in Daihatsu and Hino.

"We've had a good partnership; however both GM and FHI came to the conclusion that there were not enough collaborative projects to sustain the alliance and that each of our interests could be better served through a different approach," GM Asia Pacific president Troy Clarke said in a statement.

The divestiture of GM's stake in FHI is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter.

Since GM acquired a stake in FHI in 2000, the companies have been involved in various joint projects for product development, advanced technology, global purchasing and supply chain management, and product distribution.

GM currently partners with FHI on one production vehicle, the Saab 9-2x (a mildy reworked Subaru Impreza), which will continue.

There was no word in GM's statement on the future of Chevrolet-badged versions of Subaru's Forester built and sold in markets such as Thailand and India, but this deal is also likely to continue as it would make no sense to end it.

Other joint arrangements with FHI will be dissolved over time. The two automakers' previously announced Saab crossover vehicle development programme will be cancelled.

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