After three years of negotiations, DaimlerChrysler is finally edging closer to reaching agreement with China’s leading commercial-vehicles producer First Auto Works (FAW) in Changchun on the joint production of heavy-goods vehicles, Handelsblatt reports.

The report says that progress has been made over the past month and that talks held in the north-eastern port town of Dalian in the province of Liaoning were now ‘progressing fast’.

Sources in China indicate that agreement is ‘imminent’. Liaoning governor Bo Xilai is scheduled to visit Germany in May, the second time within a year.

However, the Hendelsblatt report notes that a spokesman for DaimlerChrysler sounded a more cautious note on discussions with FAW, saying that ‘nothing will happen in the next few months’.

The Chinese heavy truck industry is widely acknowledged to carry huge potential as the economy grows and road infrastructure in China is improved. The current truck fleet is seen as old and dominated by medium duty trucks that are in need of renewal.

The perennial question for investors in China however, is: ‘when will that potential be realised?’