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GM to Invest $200 Million in Fairfax, Kansas

General Motors plans to invest $200 million into its Fairfax, Kan., manufacturing site for production of an all-new Saturn midsize car, which is currently scheduled to begin production in the second half of 2006 as a 2007 model.

GM will use the investment to expand its facilities and upgrade machinery, equipment and special tooling associated with production of the new product. Specific product information on the new Saturn will be released at a later date. The assembly plant currently builds the Chevy Malibu and Malibu Maxx and employs approximately 3,000 employees. UAW Local 31 represents the plant’s hourly workforce.

Visteon Opens Technical Center Facility in Mexico

Visteon Corp. has opened a new automotive technical center and office facility in the city of Chihuahua, Mexico. The 5,000- square-meter facility will accommodate specific needs for vehicle component design activities and administrative operations in the region. This building will house approximately 200 engineers, technicians and other employees.

Last February, Visteon announced the construction of its new Mexico Technical Center adjacent to property of the Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), Chihuahua Campus. The strategic alliance between Visteon and the ITESM demonstrates the company’s commitment to performance and competitiveness in the Mexican automotive market.


Nissan Develops New 4-cylinder Engine Series and New CVT

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. has developed two new 4-cylinder gasoline engines and a new continuously variable transmission (CVT). The new hardware units will be successively adopted on various small passenger cars, beginning with a new model scheduled for release in Japan this autumn. The two newly developed engines, the 1.5L HR15DE and the 2.0L MR20DE, are both inline 4-cylinder units, jointly developed by Nissan and Renault for use in both companies’ passenger cars.

Application of the HR15DE engine will begin with Nissan’s all-new Tiida model, which will go on sale in Japan this autumn, while the MR20DE engine will first be applied to a new minivan scheduled for release later this year. Both engines incorporate a host of new shared technologies and are designed to provide excellent fuel economy combined with improved acceleration under the conditions most commonly encountered in everyday driving.

The newly developed CVT further enhances the benefits that characterize this type of transmission, including excellent fuel economy, smooth power delivery without any shift shock and outstanding acceleration performance. In particular, shift response has been improved by tuning the hydraulic and electronic controls. The shift response improvement combined with a wider gear ratio range contributes significantly to the acceleration and fuel economy under ordinary driving conditions.

Hino and Isuzu Merge J-Bus Group Companies

Hino Motors Ltd. and Isuzu Motors Limited announced a merger of three companies into the J-Bus Ltd., a holding company established for the purpose of promoting integration of Hino and Isuzu bus businesses.

Companies to be merged are Hino Auto Body Ltd. and Isuzu Bus Manufacturing Co. Ltd., and J-Bus will become the surviving company. The merger will take effect on October 1, 2004, and Hino and Isuzu will promote full-scale integration of the bus businesses. The surviving company will operate two manufacturing sites in Komatsu and Utsunomiya. The J-Bus will locate its headquarters function in the suburb of Tokyo, while its registered office will be at Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture. The capital structure of J-Bus Ltd. will not change because of the merger. The J-Bus will conduct self-contained businesses as an entity responsible for the development and manufacturing of buses for both Hino and Isuzu.

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