The Israeli Ministry of Defense plans to purchase 2,000 Ford F-350 trucks in a 5-year deal worth US$100 million. The deal has yet to be formally confirmed and will include the purchase and service of the vehicles.

The money for the deal is part of the American military aid to Israel and that budget must be spent in the US. For that reasons the Israeli army is also considering purchase of the Mercedes Benz G-Wagon, which is to be manufactured in the US.

The F-350 trucks will replace the Israeli assembled Abir vehicle that has been in use for 10 years and has a poor safety reputation.

The Ford F-350 will be supplied with a turbo charged diesel engine, automatic gearbox in 4wd version. All the military kits will be manufactured and assembled in the US. The main rival to the Ford F-350 was the new GMC Sierra.

Last month GM importer UMI was declared winner in another tender, this time for private cars for medium ranked officers in the IDF. The winning model was Opel Astra with a 2.0 l TD engine with manual gearbox. In the next 3 years they will supply the IDF with 1,000 units. The Opel Astra will replace the Renault Megane.

Ya'acov Zalel

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