Ford is considering a bid for Daewoo following General Motors' £865m investment in Fuji Heavy Industries.
The two US groups have indicated they would each like a 10% stake in car and truck sales in the Asian market, which is forecast to expand more rapidly than the US and Europe over the next decade.
GM and Daewoo have been in talks about a possible strategic alliance for two years but Ford boss Jac Nasser might be more decisive. By taking a 20% stake in Fuji - which builds Subaru cars and trucks - GM aligns itself with a leading 4x4 manufacturer. The alliance will mean collaboration in design, development and manufacturing.
Fuji president Takeshi Tanaka said the group was attracted to GM by the success of its 49% stake in Isuzu.
International Motors imports the Subaru and Isuzu brands into the UK. The IM group won back the Isuzu Trooper from GM which sold it as the Vauxhall Monterey for a while. (December 17 1999)