Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. announced Tuesday that Nissan will begin selling three models of Renault’s small and midsize vehicles on May 10 in Japan as part of their capital alliance, agreed upon last year.

The French automaker will establish a fully owned subsidiary named Renault Japon on May 1. The unit will exclusively import Renault vehicles to Japan and handle sales strategies, said Georges Douin, executive vice president at Renault. Renault will invest 4 billion yen in the new company over a three-year period.

Nissan will market Renault vehicles at its 29 sales outlets from May 10. By the end of this year, Nissan will retail a total of four Renault models at its 50 outlets nationwide.

The Japanese carmaker will also provide Renault Japon with full support over sales outlet management, sales staff training and sales campaigns, executives of the two companies said.

The two firms hope that sales of Renault vehicles will increase to 15,000 units in 2004 and 30,000 units in 2010, from more than 3,000 units in 1999, they said.

France Motors, Renault’s current importer and distributor, has 40 sales outlets in Japan and will continue distributing for Renault during a transition period of three years.

Yamaha ups stake

Yamaha Motor Co. said Tuesday that it will increase its equity stake in a joint motorcycle manufacturing and marketing venture in India so as to gain management control over the company and improve sluggish sales.

The Japanese motorcycle maker said it will increase its stake in Escorts Yamaha Motor Ltd., located in Faridabad, about 40 km south of New Delhi, from 50 percent to 74 percent by buying shares from its Indian partners, Escorts Ltd.

Yamaha will complete the purchase by June 1, paying about 3 billion yen for the shares, and speed up development, production and marketing, the company said in a statement.

Escorts Yamaha Motor posted a net loss of some 400 million yen in fiscal 1999, which ended March 31 this year. It had a market share of 6.6 percent with annual sales of some 250,000 units.

Yamaha Motor said India is the second biggest motorcycle market in the world after China, with annual demand of roughly 3.8 million units.

Yamaha Motor said annual demand for motorcycles in India is expected to grow to 4.4 million in 2003.

Honda recalls vans

Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday that it will recall the Canada-made Lagreat minivan because of a defective rear-door lock.

Subject to the recall are 218 vehicles made by Honda Canada Inc. between December 1999 and January 1999, Honda said.

Honda is recalling 5,924 Lagreats in five foreign countries, including the United States, Canada and Mexico.