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Fiat and Tata announce manufacturing deal

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ROME (AP) _ Fiat Group Spa and Tata Motors Ltd. said Tuesday the two auto companies have signed an agreement for a joint venture in India to make passenger vehicles, engines and transmissions for Indian and overseas markets.

Fiat, which has been working for a turnaround, and Tata also said they have agreed to study the possibility of industrial and commercial cooperation in Latin America, which has traditionally been a big market for the Italian automaker.

When going at full speed, the facilities, based in Ranjangaon Maharashtra, India, are expected to produce 100,000 cars and 250,000 engines and transmissions, the two companies said.

The two sides agreed to a 60-day study of Latin America, with special focus on utility vehicles and pickups and on exploring existing Fiat plants in Cordoba, Argentina.

A joint statement quoted Tata Group and Tata Motors chairman Ratan as saying ``this is the beginning of what promises to be a far-reaching, long-term relationship'' between Fiat and Tata.

Shareholder, licensing and other agreements have yet to be finalized, but partnership and the study of Latin American prospects ``reflect a growing commitment of the two organizations to work together and leverage mutual strengths to address key markets through a combined complementary product portfolio and exchanges of technology,'' a joint statement said.

` Fiat appeared to be on a roll in its campaign to infuse life in the cash-strapped company.

On Monday, the Turin-based industrial giant Fiat SpA announced that second-quarter earnings rose 56 percent, against a backdrop of strong sales of its flagship compact car.

The Turin-based automaker, which has sold off noncore assets, has launched a strategy of new models and new partnerships.

The deals announced Tuesday expand an existing alliance between Tata and Fiat.

Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said the deals were part of exploration of ``new opportunities to be jointly exploited. Not only in India but also on a global scale.''

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Fiat and Tata announce manufacturing deal
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