Toyota Motor Corp plans to boost production of passenger cars and trucks in Asia, Africa and South America starting in 2004.
In Asia, Toyota will drastically increase its production in Thailand, raising output capacity to 200,000 units annually from the current 40,000 units and shifting production of pickup trucks now made by Hino Motors Ltd for Toyota to that country.
The company also improved its most popular Corolla passenger car with added features and lower price tags to be competitive with its main rival Honda Motor Co's best-selling Fit car.
At the same time Honda met some business troubles. It has to recall six types of passenger cars — the Accord Inspire, Vigor, Inspire, Ascot, Rafaga and Saber — for defects found in the engine ignition system which, in the worst case, could catch fire.
Other two giants shocked the auto world. Mitsubishi Motors Corp and DaimlerChrysler AG will jointly produce and sell trucks with a 4-ton load capacity at an annual rate of 10,000 units at Mitsubishi's plant in Kawasaki.
And finally caused a sensation deal between Nissan Motor Co and DongFeng Motor Corp finalized with signing an agreement to form a 50-50 joint venture to produce passenger cars, trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles in China.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea