May 22, 2009 / 2:15 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Fuji Heavy eyes GM, Chrysler dealerships

* Fuji Heavy says U.S. dealer turmoil provides opportunities

* Shares down 3 pct vs 1 pct fall for auto subindex

TOKYO, May 22 (Reuters) - Japan’s Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd (7270.T) said on Friday that turmoil among U.S. dealers who face losing their contracts with Chrysler [CBS.UL] and General Motors Corp (GM.N) could present new opportunities for the maker of Subaru cars.

Shares of Fuji Heavy fell 3 percent after the Mainichi newspaper reported that the company was looking to take on some Chrysler and GM dealerships.

The global slowdown has forced Chrysler into bankruptcy and burned cash at GM, and they plan to shutter hundreds of dealerships.

More dealers may be open to switching to Subaru-brand cars as they fight to survive, Fuji Heavy spokesman Shinichi Murata said.

“It wouldn’t be strange if the current business climate yielded more opportunities,” he said.

Fuji Heavy, popular with flat-four all-wheel-drive technology enthusiasts, bucked a shrinking market in the past year and logged flat sales in the United States. [ID:nT259194]

The company, which 16.5 percent held by Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), launched its revamped Legacy series earlier this week and has forecast its operating loss would expand six-fold to 35 billion yen ($371 million) this financial year.

Its shares were trading 2.7 percent lower at 355 yen, underperforming a 1 percent decline for Tokyo’s auto subindex .ITEQP.T (Reporting by Mayumi Negishi; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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