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Yamaha, Ford Talk of Joint Venture

January 12, 2001

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan’s leading boat-engine company said Friday that it is continuing discussions with Ford Motor Co. about setting up a North American joint venture but acknowledged that, contrary to earlier comments, there had been no agreement.

Yamaha Motor Co. backtracked from a remark Wednesday by President Takehiko Hasegawa in Tokyo that the two sides had agreed to set up the new company by spring to manufacture and sell boat engines worldwide.

Ford denied any such alliance. ``Ford has no agreement to form an alliance of any kind with Yamaha,″ Ford said from its headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

``It is not unusual for Ford to talk with other companies to explore possible mutual opportunities. However, it is pure speculation to say such talks result in an agreement,″ Ford said.

Yamaha spokesman Tetsuo Osumi said Hasegawa had a slightly different understanding of the talks from the Ford officials. ``He saw it as a preliminary agreement,″ Osumi said. ``It is a fact they have not reached a formal agreement.″

Yamaha, based in Iwata, 95 miles west of Tokyo, has four plants in the United States, making golf carts, boats and recreational water vehicles.