TOKYO: Nissan Motor Co is proposing to buy about 20 percent of Chrysler and bring the troubled automaker into the Franco-Japanese alliance with Renault SA, the Detroit News reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the situation.
The offer is now before private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which holds 80 percent of Chrysler, the paper said.
Citing another source close to the talks, the paper also said Cerberus founder and chief executive Stephen Feinberg favors a deal with General Motors Corp.
Yesterday, Nissan had said it was cutting production of its Altima models at assembly plants in Tennessee and Mississippi due to sluggish demand in the United States.
Nissan North America spokesman Steve Parrett said employees at the plants in Smyrna, Tennessee, and Canton, Mississippi, are taking days off without pay on three successive Fridays, Oct 17, 24 and 31. The workers have the option of getting paid by using vacation time, he said.
Parrett said he was unsure how many employees are affected. The vehicles affected in Smyrna are the Altima sedan, coupe and hybrid. The cuts in Canton only affect the sedan version, Parrett said.
Nissan ``will remain competitive in the challenging environment that exists in the US economy and in our industry,'' the automaker said in a statement.
In Tokyo, a Nissan spokeswoman said the company also will slash output by 28,000 units, mostly Infiniti luxury models, at its factory in Tochigi, north of Tokyo. Nissan spokeswoman Ikue Matsuura said that production cut will last five months starting from November.
``Our sales in the United States remained sluggish. We must adjust our output accordingly,'' she said.
Nissan, Japan's third-biggest automaker, also planned to cut production by 37,000 units, mostly the sport utility vehicles Murano and Rogue, at its plant in Fukuoka, southern Japan, from November to March next year, Matsuura said.
Nissan's sales in the US dropped 37 percent year-on-year in September due to slowing demand as American consumers tightened their purse strings amid the deepening financial crisis.
The Asahi daily said Tuesday that Nissan would slash the number of temporary workers at its domestic factories to cope with the poor US sales. The spokeswoman declined to confirm the report.
Last week Nissan said it was laying off 1,680 workers in Spain due to weak demand.
6 months ago