Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 340, January 1998

Issue Index

 American Companies in Japan


The 1998 version of GENERAL MOTORS CORP.'s Chevrolet Blazer camper is on sale at YANASE & CO., LTD. dealerships in Yokohama and Nagoya. The base model of the sport-utility vehicle conversion has a suggested retail price of $24,500, while the upscale model lists for $28,300.

The natural gas-powered Civic GX, built in East Liberty, Ohio, will go on sale in HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD. showrooms in June. The automotive manufacturer describes the sedan's 1,600-cubic-centimeter, 115-horsepower, lean-burn engine as the cleanest internal combustion engine ever built. Pricing starts at $15,400. Honda hopes to sell 100 Civic GXs a year in Japan. U.S. sales of the car will begin this spring.

UNIQUE MOBILITY, INC., a Golden, Colorado developer of energy-efficient electric and hybrid vehicle systems, is working with KOYO SEIKO CO., LTD. on the development of hybrid electric vehicle power components. Their collaboration is focused on a flywheel system that could be used, for example, in energy storage systems for cars, large trucks and buses. Koyo Seiko, a manufacturer of bearings and automotive parts, is responsible for the overall design of the flywheel system. It also will supply magnetic bearings. The flywheel rotor and hub will come from a Canadian project partner, while Unique Mobility will provide a high-speed, high-efficiency motor/generator. The Japanese firm expects to complete basic testing and evaluation of the prototype flywheel system in March. Commercial availability could occur by the turn of the century.

In an unusual event for the aircraft business, JAPAN AIR SYSTEM CO., LTD. took delivery of three of the same model of aircraft from BOEING CO. at the same time. The new MD-90s are the 12th, 13th and 14th planes in a 16-plane order for MD-90s that JAS placed in 1990 and 1996 with what was then McDonnell Douglas Corp. Each of new planes, which will be used on domestic routes, is configured with 166 seats in a five-across seating arrangement. The MD-90s are powered by a pair of INTERNATIONAL AERO ENGINES V2525-D5 turbofans. Besides the two MD-90s still on order, JAS is waiting for four more 777-200s.

An exchange rate of ¥130=$1.00 was used in this report.

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