Toyota's Venture With Mitsubishi Jets

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Toyota Motor Corp has decided to invest more than $96 million in Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., taking a 10-percent ownership interest in the company that will oversee launch of Mitsubishi's new regional jet. Mitsubishi's Aircraft subsidiary was established by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. just last month and was prepared to begin operations April 1 to manufacture and market the new plane. The 70- to 90-seat regional airliner is expected to launch in 2013, may be Japan's first aircraft project of its kind, and will put Mitsubishi in direct competition with Bombardier and Embraer. Japan's ANA airline has shown its support for the native project by ordering 15 of the aircraft. Rather than marking an initiation of Toyota's involvement in aircraft production, Toyota officials say the relationship should allow the auto manufacturer to improve its development of automobiles through the application of aeronautical technologies.

The move is also intended to bolster Japanese industry and is expected to receive about one-third of its funding through the Japanese government.