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Fiat, India's Tata Motors in truck JV

From Reuters| February 15,2007

Italy's Fiat and India's Tata Motors Ltd. said today that they had formed a new joint venture to make pick-up trucks in Argentina with an investment of about $80 million.

The Fiat branded vehicle, based on the new-generation Tata pick-up, will be made at Fiat's plant in Cordoba in Argentina. Production will begin in 2008 with an initial annual capacity of around 20,000 units, they said.

The trucks would be sold in South and Central America and select European markets through Fiat's networks.

"Tata Motors considers Latin America as an important market and we hope this would augur well for a truly global partnership across markets and business segments," Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata said.

Tata Motors also signed a memorandum of understanding with Fiat's commercial vehicle arm Iveco to examine the feasibility of cooperating across markets in areas such as engineering, manufacturing, sourcing, distribution and component manufacture for commercial vehicles.

The two companies could possibly look at markets such as Latin America, South Africa, India and China, said Paolo Monferino, chief executive of Iveco.

"In principle, we would look at both, the Iveco and Tata brands ... all options are on the table," he said, adding that the two companies would make a decision after three months.

Tata Motors, India's third-biggest automaker, and Fiat already have a deal to make more than 100,000 cars and 200,000 engines and transmissions in India from 2008 onwards with an investment of more than $877 million.

Fiat is also cooperating with Tata Motors on the Indian firm's cheap small car, which is slated for launch in 2008.

"It is their car, their project ... our cooperation is limited to advice on engineering and development," Alfredo Altavilla, a senior vice president of Fiat, told reporters.

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