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INTERNATIONAL AUTO MAKERS BULLISH ON ECONOMY, AUTO SALES IN 1994, SAYS ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS

 WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- International auto makers are optimistic that expanding world trade in 1994 will stimulate both the global and U.S. economies and the that the total U.S. vehicle sales will reach 15 million units for the first time in five years, according to the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM).
 In a wide-ranging overview of prospects for the coming year, Philip A. Hutchinson Jr., president of AIAM, predicted that the crumbling of trade barriers due to such developments as NAFTA and the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations will lift the global economy out of its recent doldrums and further accelerate the United States' recovery. He also foresees an end to the threat of protectionist restraints on the international auto makers.
 According to Hutchison, the international manufacturers also expect to retain their present market share in the United States, in the face of intense competition from the Big Three companies. An expanding market will increase their own sales significantly in the coming year.
 "The commitment of President Clinton to free trade policies, as evidenced by his strong support for NAFTA and GATT negotiations, will block efforts to impose unfair trade restrictions or higher tariffs on automobile imports," said Hutchinson.
 Hutchinson expects U.S. motor vehicle imports to Japan to grow rapidly in 1994 with the United States becoming a principal exporter of automotive products to Japan. Exports from the new American factories of the international auto makers are expected to lead this surge to Japan and will surpass Big Three sales in Europe, Asia and South America.
 "Motor vehicle imports from Japan will continue to decline at an accelerated pace, as vehicles manufactured here by the international auto makers replace imports," Hutchison said. As a consequence of this decline and the increasing reliance of GM, Ford and Chrysler on imports from their Canadian factories, Hutchison pointed out that Canada will be the largest exporter of motor vehicles to the United States in 1994, with Japan trailing by a significant margin.
 Hutchinson foresees the improving U.S. economy and the slower economic recovery in Europe and Japan to boost the dollar's value on the international currency exchanges reducing prize pressure somewhat on imported vehicles. A stronger dollar and a resurgent U.S. economy will boost sales of imports from Europe.
 Hutchinson anticipates capital investment in new U.S. plants and equipment by the international auto makers, already at $10 billion, to increase markedly as the international companies expand U.S. production and as construction accelerates on the new American factories of BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Sourcing and purchasing in the United States by the international auto makers will continue to rise above the $15 billion record set in 1992. The international companies' combined output of passenger cars manufactured in the United States again will exceed that of either Ford or Chrysler by an increasing margin, said Hutchinson.
 AIAM is the trade association representing the U.S. subsidiaries of international automobile companies doing business in the United States. Member companies distribute passenger cars, light trucks and multipurpose vehicles in the United States. Nearly half of these vehicles are manufactured in new American plants established by AIAM companies in the past decade.
 International auto makers support more than 500,000 American jobs in manufacturing, supplier industries, ports, distribution centers, headquarters R&D centers and automobile dealerships. AIAM also represents manufacturers of tires and other original equipment with production facilities in the United States and abroad.
 -0- 1/4/94
 /CONTACT: Kathleen Mordini, 703-525-7788, or Tony De Cristofaro, 202-944-1993, both for the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers/


CO: Association of International Automobile Manufacturers ST: District of Columbia IN: AUT SU: ECO SLS

KW-IH -- DC017 -- 9029 01/04/94 16:25 EST
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Date:Jan 4, 1994
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