Around the close of the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday news began to spread that General Motors (ticker: GM) CEO Rick Wagoner will be visiting Japan as he typically does following a visit to China. Spokeswoman for GM in Tokyo, Masako Hamada confirmed that Wagoner usually meets with GM's alliance partners Isuzu and Suzuki, as well as with Toyota (ticker: TM) officials during his visits to Japan. What's different this time around is that GM has suffered yet another heavy quarterly earnings loss while in recent news Toyota is said to be preparing a strategic plan to propel it to the number one auto manufacturer in the world, surpassing GM, sometime in 2007.
This will be the first time Wagoner meets with Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe, since Watanabe took office this past July.
Key points from Forbes coverage follows:
• Kyodo News: Watanabe and Wagoner were expected to discuss continuing joint research on technologies such as fuel cell and future plans for U.S. factories the two companies hope to operate together, without citing sources.
• Some Japanese auto executives are worried about intensifying trade friction as Japanese automakers grab more market share from struggling U.S. automakers. Officials at Toyota, which is expected to report strong earnings Friday, have been nervous about a possible backlash in the U.S. as Toyota's profits grow and GM loses money.
• GM recently accused the Japanese government of unfair currency manipulation to keep the yen weak and give a pricing edge to Japanese automakers in the U.S.
• Larry Burns, vice president overseeing research and development at General Motors Corp., while in Tokyo for the auto show last month, told The Associated Press that GM has been talking with Toyota about working together on technology but is not prepared to announce anything so far.
• Toyota officials have also recently denied any upcoming cooperation on hybrids with GM. But a deal on other important technology, such as fuel cells, could be in the works.
* Coverage of auto stocks including GM and Toyota on The Japan Stock Blog: