The automaker Daimler AG said Friday it has
agreed to form a joint venture with India's Hero Group that will
build commercial trucks for the burgeoning market in India.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The deal calls for the local production of ``light-, medium- and
heavy-duty commercial vehicles for the Indian volume market.'' The
companies expect to make trucks for export at a later stage.
Based in New Delhi, Hero owns more than a quarter of Hero Honda
Motors Ltd., the country's biggest motorcycle maker.
Daimler said the deal should close by the end of the first
quarter of 2008.
Though known for its automobiles, including Mercedes-Benz, Smart
and Maybach, Daimler is the world's biggest truck maker and its
brands include Freightliner, Mitsubishi Fuso, Mercedes-Benz, Western
Star and Thomas Built buses.
Last year, the company said it sold more than 516,000 trucks,
bringing in 31.8 billion euros (US$46.69 billion) in sales.
``The decision to form this joint venture in India marks a
milestone in Daimler Trucks' overall strategy to participate in the
fast-growing emerging markets,'' said Daimler Trucks chief and
executive board member Andreas Renschler.
Hero Corporate Service Ltd. chairman Sunil Kant Munjal said the
Indian firm would benefit from Daimler Trucks' know-how and design.
``We can benefit from Daimler Trucks' world class products and
technology, and combine those with our own strengths to create
winning products for Indian and other global customers,'' he said.
Shares of Daimler were down nearly 1.4 per cent to 65.74 euros
(US$96.53) in Frankfurt.