Volvo Trucks North America and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America have formed a strategic alliance to sell and service Class 3-7 trucks in Canada. The deal eventually will extend to the United States.
The companies said a study of U.S. distribution and manufacturing strategies is now under way. Specific plans for U.S. dealers and customers will be announced in six to 12 months. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Fuso sales and service franchises will be offered immediately to Volvo dealers in Canada, where Mitsubishi Fuso does not have a dealer network.
"This alliance is a good fit strategically for Volvo Trucks and Mitsubishi Fuso," said Marc Gustafson, Volvo Trucks president and CEO. "The products are complementary, which will allow Volvo dealers to offer an expanded range of trucks. Customers will benefit through an extended and strengthened sales and service network."
The agreement "will increase our reach in the Canadian market," said Robert McDowell, MFTA executive vice president and COO. "We are very pleased to have this strong dealer network representing us."
The announcement seems to cement claims by parent companies, AB Volvo of Sweden and Japan's Mitsubishi Motors, that DaimlerChrysler's purchase of a 34% equity stake in Mitsubishi won't affect the Volvo/Mitsubishi truck tie-up. That deal, inked last year, includes the sale of Mitsubishi light trucks through Volvo channels and the joint development of midsize trucks.
Both Mitsubishi and DaimlerChrysler officials have said that their partnership is limited to passenger cars.
But this week Dieter Zetsche, who heads up DaimlerChrysler's commercial vehicle operations, reportedly told a German newspaper he cannot imagine that Volvo would be comfortable with DaimlerChrysler's involvement for the medium and long run.
By the spring of 2001, Mitsubishi plans to spin off its truck division, and the new company will be 19.1% owned by Volvo.