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Look For Chinese SUVs, Ford Motor M&A

Tuesday, 2 Jan 2007 | 9:06 AM ET

The automobile industry is hitting 2007 running. And CNBC’s Phil LeBeau predicted what the industry’s top seven stories will be for this year. Here is a sample.

The auto-market blogger told “Squawk Box” that the hottest development may come from Beijing and Shanghai: LeBeau pointed to comments by DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche that his transatlantic firm is in talks with several possible Chinese partners to produce a lower-cost model for the U.S. market.

LeBeau said 2007 may see another big story about the Teutonic-American automaker, as scuttlebutt abounds that Zetsche may try to sell the company’s Chrysler arm.

And while Zetsche seeks a sale or spin-off, others may eye combinations. LeBeau said that ever since alliance talks happened between General Motors chief Richard “Rick” Wagoner and Nissan Motor’s Carlos Ghosn, observers have speculated that Ford Motor Co. might be sending out its own merger feelers.

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