Toyota considering a joint venture in Australia with GM

Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan's top carmaker, is likely to form a sales and production venture with General Motors Corporation in Australia, Toyota's president said Wednesday. Toyota President Shoichiro Toyoda, who made the remarks in a press conference, cautioned that no final decision had been made. He said the two companies were still reviewing the concept.

The discussions are a response to an Australian government plan to limit the number of car model lines produced in the country to six from the present 13 models, and the number of carmakers to three groups from five by 1992.

Currently, Japan's Nissan Motor Company and Ford Motor Company are discussing the prospects of jointly selling certain car models in Australia.

Australian motor vehicle sales slumped to their lowest point in 14 years last year, with car and truck sales tumbling 24 percent from the year-earlier level.

Mr. Toyoda said the GM-Toyota relationship would be a limited sales and production combination. ``We're talking about forming a kind of tie-up in which we can avoid merging our operations entirely,'' he said.

In December 1984, Toyota and GM started jointly producing cars at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. in California.

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