Ford Motor Co. has rejected a Toyota Motor Co. proposal for joint production of vans in the United States, prompting the Japanese automaker to suspend talks on a tie-up agreement, Toyota President Eiji Toyoda told a news conference today.
"The Toyota side has no plan to make a new proposal in the future," he said. "An agreement will not be reached unless both sides find merit in their partnership."
Officials at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry here said they felt Toyoda's remarks signaled an end to the talks, which they thought could help ease trade friction between the two countries.
But in Detroit, Ford said that talks on a possible joint venture still are on despite Toyoda's pessimistic assessment.
At Ford's headquarters in suburban Dearborn, spokesman George Trainor said it was known some time ago that the project was "not viable."
Trainor also said that further talks between the two companies are scheduled for late July and that those talks "will be a continuation of talks about the possibility of a joint venture on smaller cars."
Toyoda, however, said he could not speculate at this stage whether the two companies now may consider joint production of another model in the United States.