The General Motors announcement to raise its stake in Suzuki from 10 percent to 20 percent is consistent with other recent moves the automaker has made in the global arena, according to CSM Worldwide Director of Forecast Services, Michael Robinet.

Focus on Core Competencies

General Motors continues to shore up its core competencies to effectively compete in discrete market segments around the world, says Robinet. The Suzuki announcement underscores how strategic acquisitions fulfill the Detroit automaker's objectives. Robinet cites how GM utilizes Opel for small car development, Holden for rear-wheel-drive unibody development, Isuzu for diesel engine and compact full-frame development, Fuji Heavy (Subaru) for all-wheel-drive technology and Fiat for small/compact unibody frame and gasoline engine development.

"General Motors is specifically interested in Suzuki because of its dominant position in the Asian mini-car segment," says Robinet.

Mini and B-class vehicles are the Key in Asia

According to the CSM Japan/Korea Light Vehicle Production Forecast, production of mini and B-class vehicles will be essentially stagnant over the next five years in Japan and Korea. Nonetheless, vehicle manufacturers such as Toyota/Daihatsu, GM/Suzuki, DaimlerChrysler/Mitsubishi/Hyundai and Ford/Daewoo will compete fiercely in the B-class segments in Japan and Korea as the competitive climate in the emerging economies of Thailand, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and India intensifies dramatically, according to the CSM forecast. "The latter group of countries will be the focus of growth in the ensuing years and the driver for GM's increased equity with Suzuki," says Robinet.

About CSM Worldwide

CSM Worldwide supports more than 200 automotive suppliers with global market intelligence and forecasting services. With corporate offices in Northville, Michigan, CSM Worldwide covers the global automotive environment from London, Prague, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai.

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