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Hino Motors Ltd. and Isuzu Motors Ltd. said Friday they will delay the full merger of their bus-manufacturing operations until October 2004.

The two firms set up an equally owned company in October 2002 to prepare for the integration.

They had planned to merge the preparatory firm, J-Bus Ltd., with their bus subsidiaries, Hino Auto Body Ltd. and Isuzu Bus Manufacturing Ltd., next month.

But they have now decided to transform J-Bus into a holding company by transferring all Hino Auto and Isuzu Bus shares to J-Bus. The maneuver will take place in October.

The subsidiaries will then operate under the holding company.

J-Bus, Hino Auto and Isuzu Bus will merge into one company in October 2004.

“In order to integrate systems and adjust labor conditions smoothly, we need more time,” Hino and Isuzu said.