DaimlerChrysler to work with Fiat's powertrain unit

Vehicle makers DaimlerChrysler AG and Fiat SpA said Tuesday they signed an agreement calling for strategic cooperation to provide the German-American automaker's truck group with engine and powertrain technology from Italy.

"The first step of this agreement concerns the long-term supply of light-duty diesel engines ... to the Mitsubishi Fuso Bus & Truck Corporation, to be used in the Canter light commercial vehicle which will be marketed in major markets, including Europe and Japan," the two companies said in a joint statement.

Under the agreement, Turin-based Fiat will supply some 80,000 engines to DaimlerChrysler's Mitsubishi Fuso unit starting in 2009, with the number rising as needed.

"This agreement is a key step in our strategy aimed at developing strategic partnerships in all sectors of the group" said Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne.

Both companies said they would also look at more shared business opportunities in other markets, too, including Asia.

DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche said the decision was part of a wider effort to provide vehicles with light diesel engines that would be in line with future emission regulations.

"Today's, and future, emission regulations demand a high level of investment and technological specialization," he said.

Shares of DaimlerChrysler were up nearly half a percent at euro69.05 (US$92.55) in Frankfurt.