Thursday, February 08, 2007

Toyota and Maybe Subaru?

Toyota (NYSE:TM) may benefit from a subtle change in Japanese domestic anti trust regulations. At this point Japanese regulators prohibit any one entity from controlling more than 50% of the domestic market. Starting in April autoblog reports that the regulation will be changed from domestic to international market share.

How Japanese regulators plan to impose their will on non Japanese activities remains to be seen. But this new influence may explain some convoluted behaviour on the part of Japanese manufacturers.

In the meantime it has been suggested that Toyota will buy Subaru. In Japan the combined entity would be uncomfortably close to the 50% rule. Subaru is currently owned by Fuji Heavy Industry (FJHY.PK). General Motors (NYSE:GM) held a 20% stake until Oct 06. Toyota has purchased an 8.7% stake and has under taken a variety of joint ventures with Fuji.