NEW YORK (Kyodo) Toyota Motor Corp. President-designate Akio Toyoda is considering visiting the United States in early August when he may meet with Fritz Henderson, chief executive officer of bankrupt General Motors Corp., sources said Thursday.
Should the meeting materialize, the leaders of the two automakers would apparently discuss the possibility of Toyota providing GM with environmental technologies, deemed vital for the reconstruction of GM, which has lagged behind Japanese rivals in hybrids and other fuel efficient cars.
Toyoda, who will assume the presidency of Toyota in late June, would likely visit Toyota’s major clients and business operations in the United States, including those in Michigan, where GM is headquartered.
GM’s financial standing is expected to strengthen under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings that are likely to continue for 60 to 90 days.
But it is thought it will take much longer for sales to get back on track, given that GM’s mainstay products are pickup trucks and other gas guzzlers.
If Toyota extends technologies in developing energy-efficient hybrids and compact cars to GM, the U.S. automaker’s efforts to rebuild itself may gather momentum, some industry observers say.
A new GM is set to review the production of small cars at a factory run by a joint venture between Toyota and the Big Three carmaker in California.
If the Toyoda-Henderson meeting comes off, they may also discuss what to do concerning the joint venture.
Whether Toyoda goes to the U.S. for talks with Henderson is expected to be influenced by the progress of GM’s court-supervised bankruptcy proceedings, which may not have concluded by the time of the possible visit.
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