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its automobile division having just agreed to a merger with Ford Motor Co., Sweden's Volvo AB is negotiating the takeover of Chicago-based Navistar, the Financial Times reported. Navistar, the third-largest US builder of heavy trucks, also makes school buses, medium-sized trucks, and diesel engines. A takeover would more than double Volvo's share of the North American truck market. Volvo wouldn't comment on the report.

A 2-1/2-month strike by thousands of assembly-line workers against South Korea's Samsung Motors will end Friday, the company said, after the two sides reached agreement on job-security issues. Samsung is the country's newest and smallest automaker, and its money-losing operations are being taken over by rival Daewoo. Word of that deal in early December triggered the strike, with workers complaining about the prospect of losing their jobs after many of them had bought Samsung cars in an attempt to help keep the company afloat.

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Last-ditch negotiations to avert a strike by millions of German metalworkers resume today - under a Wednesday midnight deadline set by union leaders for agreement. The unions also have warned employers not to try to link pay raises to company financial health. Failure to agree on new terms would trigger strikes March 1 against such companies as Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler.

Compiled by Robert Kilborn and Lance Carden

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