IMPORT BRIEFS

IMPORT BRIEFS

Diamond-Star Plant

Ahead of ScheduleNORMAL, Ill. - Workers will begin assembling cars at the new Diamond-Star Motors plant two months ahead of schedule in early September, due to quick plant construction, the automaker has announced.

Construction of the $650 million Diamond-Star plant, a joint venture between Chrysler Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors, finished several months early, allowing the assembly line to start rolling sooner than expected.

Diamond-Star Motors will build a two-door, front-wheel-drive coupe for the 1989 model year.

The car will be sold at prices starting below $10,000.

Chrysler will market the vehicle as the Plymouth Laser.

Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, also will distribute the car.

The 2 million-square-foot assembly plant eventually is to produce 240,000 cars annually and employ 2,900 people.

The state-of-the-art auto plant features high-technology machinery and equipment including robotics on the final assembly line.

Warnaco Unit Plans

N. Ireland Expansion

NEW YORK - Apparel manufacturer Warner's (UK) Ltd. will expand its new European division in Keady, located in Northern Ireland's southeast, according to Linda Wachner, president and chief executive officer of its parent company,

Warnaco Inc.

The $2.3 million project, which is supported by the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland, will expand Warner's current facilities at Keady and build a new one in Dromore, a county adjacent to Keady.

The new division will control the company's private-label operations in Europe, which make garments different from those sold under Warner's brand name.

The factories in Northern Ireland currently employ 396 workers.

The expansion reportedly will create 124 jobs over the next two years.

The bulk of the output from the plants will be sold to Marks and Spencer, the large U.K. retail chain.

California Vintner Sold

To Canadian Distiller

LOS ANGELES - Whiskey distiller Hiram Walker of Canada has agreed to buy California wine maker Clos Du Bois for about $40 million, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Neither company released details of the sale Monday, but an unidentified source told the Times that Hiram Walker, a subsidiary of British conglomerate Allied Lyons PLC, closed the deal in San Francisco.

Included in the sale were 540 acres of prime vineyard land in Sonoma County, in addition to Healdsburg-based Clos Du Bois' second label, River Oaks.

Clos Du Bois makes its wines at a leased facility in Healdsburg, located about 50 miles north of San Francisco.

The vineyard land is worth between $10 million and $12 million by itself, so that makes the value of the brand pretty high, the source told the Times.

These days, that's the name of the game: brand strength, the source added.

Last year Clos Du Bois produced about 204,000 cases of wine.

World Kiwi Production

Expected to Soar by '90

MILAN, Italy - World production of kiwi, an egg-sized subtropical fruit, is expected to almost treble by 1990, with New Zealand likely to produce a half of that, it was announced.

Charles Barkla, an official of New Zealand's Kiwifruit Authority, told a news conference that kiwi production would amount to 884,000 metric tons by 1990.

World production totaled 362,000 metric tons in 1987 with New Zealand accounting for 189,000 tons.

Italy last year was the second-largest world producer with 80,000 tons, ahead of Japan and the United States, which had 33,000 tons and 24,000 tons, respectively.