But GM spokeswoman Masako Hamada told the news agency nothing had been decided, although GM remains interested in strengthening its relations with Isuzu.
Isuzu Motors, which owns 60% of Isuzu-General Motors Australia, will make the company a wholly owned subsidiary by acquiring GM’s 40% stake, Isuzu spokesman Tadashi Ioka told AP – Isuzu has not decided on the timing of the move but is in the final stages of reaching an agreement with GM, he said.
“Our plans for Australia are just one part of our long-term global strategy,” Ioka reportedly said, adding that buying GM’s stake wasn’t an effort to provide aid to the US automaker.
The Associated Press noted that GM set up an alliance with Isuzu in 1971, and at once point owned as much as 49% of the Tokyo-based truck maker – about five years ago, Isuzu fell into serious financial trouble and carried out widespread cost cuts in 2001 and 2002 but returned to profitability last year.
Isuzu’s Australian joint venture markets the Elf light truck and other vehicles Isuzu ships from Japan, making it a key part of the Japanese company’s sales strategy in the Australian market, the news agency added.
AP also reported that Japan’s largest business newspaper, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, reported on Monday that Isuzu also expects to take a majority stake in a new truck unit to be spun off from a GM subsidiary in South Africa that makes and markets trucks – such changes will allow GM to concentrate on its critical passenger car business.
Ioka reportedly said Isuzu was re-evaluating its plans for South Africa but denied talks had taken place with GM on the truck operations there.
Isuzu, in which GM owns an 8% stake, aims to become the core truck producer in the GM group, the Nikkei said, according to the Associated Press.