Report: Suzuki to Stop GM Sales in Japan

Suzuki Motor Corp. will dissolve its sales tie-up in Japan with General Motors Corp. (GM) and end its joint development operations in the country with the American auto maker, a news report said Sunday.

The Japanese small-car maker plans to stop its distribution of the Chevrolet-brand Trailblazer sports utility vehicle and Optra wagon in Japan sometime this year, according to a report in Japan's largest daily, the Yomiuri.

Suzuki will also stop the manufacture and sales of the Chevrolet Cruise, a jointly developed SUV, it said. The vehicle was developed in 2001 and is manufactured in Japan, it said.

The report did not identify any sources or offer a reason for the move. Suzuki officials were not available for comment Sunday.

The GM-Suzuki partnership dates back to 1981. But those ties have loosened recently after GM sold 17 percent of Suzuki in April for about $2 billion, leaving it with a 3 percent stake.

That followed last year's sale of GM's entire 20 percent stake in Fuji Heavy Industries, the Japanese maker of Subaru cars. GM, which has been struggling to boost profits, also sold the 7.9 percent stake it held in Japanese truckmaker Isuzu Motors Ltd.

Speculation has been growing on whether Suzuki will pick other auto partners in place of GM.

Suzuki and Japan's Nissan Motor Co. earlier this month announced an expansion of their business cooperation, which includes mutually supplying vehicles and sharing plants. However, the two companies denied that their partnership will involve holding stakes in each other.