Suzuki and GM plan US hybrid?

When GM sold most of its decades old stake in Suzuki Motor in March, it looked like the end of the road for joint projects undertaken by the two companies. That view gathered pace on Sunday when Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported that Suzuki will quit marketing U.S. built imports of the Chevrolet Trail Blazer and Optra wagon in Japan this year and end production of the jointly developed Chevrolet Cruze compact at its domestic factories. Citing a Suzuki spokesman, the Yomiuri said that Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki and GM’s Richard Wagoner agreed on the move when they met in the United States recently. Now, though, it seems the the relationship might still have some life in it, after all. The Nikkei Keizai Shimbun, Japan’s biggest business daily, reports today that GM and Suzuki are working on a hybrid for the U.S. market which will be released in 2009. The Nikkei says the two are considering a 3 liter SUV and hints that it might be a variant on the Grand Vitara SUV, sold as the Escudo in Japan.

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