TOKYO -- DaimlerChrysler AG said on Thursday two of its commercial vehicle brands would share a new truck platform in a move that would save development costs and boost its presence in North America.
Sterling, a unit of its Freightliner LLC North American truck unit, will launch in mid-2006 a light-duty truck built on an original equipment manufacturing (OEM) basis by Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp., the Japanese truck unit of DaimlerChrysler, the world's biggest commercial vehicle maker.
The project is the first under the German automaker's new "Global Excellence" program which aims to expand sales and achieve economies of scale, largely through the development of common components and vehicle platforms across its truck brands.
"This new product extension is tangible evidence of our ability to leverage our global span by bringing exciting, new products to markets with modest developmental investments," Andreas Renschler, the head of DaimlerChrysler's commercial vehicles division was quoted as saying in a statement released by Fuso in Tokyo.
"This forms the basis of our commitment to develop our product strategy on a global basis going forward."
Sterling's new low cab-over-engine truck will be based on Fuso's recently introduced Canter platform, and would mark its entry into the light-duty market segment. More products in this range are planned in future, DaimlerChrysler said.
Michigan-based Sterling's strength is in the medium and heavy-duty truck range, with vehicles sold mostly in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Fuso's biggest market is Asia, but it also sells about 6,000 trucks in North America.
Other DaimlerChrysler commercial vehicle brands include Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Setra and Western Star.