WASHINGTON - AB Volvo expects to have a buyer soon for a small portion of its truck manufacturing business: the heavy-duty but maneuverable low-cab-over-engine trucks used by haulers of refuse, cement and fuel oil.
The sale would pave the way for Volvo to acquire Renault V.I. and Mack Trucks, the truckmaking operations of Renault SA.
The U.S. Justice Department approved the $1.8 billion acquisition two weeks ago, with the condition that Volvo sell its low-cab-over-engine operation, run by Volvo Trucks North America Inc. at a plant in Dublin, Va.
'We are in discussions already with identified interested parties,' said Volvo Group CEO Leif Johansson.
Volvo built 2,100 of the trucks in 1999, but that was 31 percent of the market segment. Mack had about 55 percent. So, the Justice Department reasoned, the combined company would have had a near-monopoly in the segment.
Once the Renault V.I. and Mack acquisition is completed, Volvo Group will create a new business called Volvo Global Trucks, to include the Volvo, Renault and Mack brands, Johansson said.
Volvo Global Trucks will have about 24 percent of the heavy-truck market in North America and 28 percent in Western Europe.
The European Union approved the Volvo-Renault deal in September.