ARNHEM, The Netherlands - Akzo Nobel N.V. and BASF Coatings said they are exploring the feasibility of launching an automotive OEM coatings joint venture in Australia. The venture would provide marketing, sales and technical services for automotive OEM coatings, beginning sometime during the first half of this year, the companies said.

Auto manufacturers with operations in Australia include Ford, GM Holden, Mitsubishi, and Toyota. The coatings companies said they would continue to operate automotive-refinish businesses separately.