Fiat Auto CEO, Giancarlo Boschetti, and Jean-Martin Folz, Chairman of PSA Citroën, have signed an agreement to jointly develop and manufacture new light commercial vehicles.

The two companies have successfully developed and produced LCVs since 1978 and have now agreed to extend their cooperation to 2017.

The agreement details future product concepts and industrialisation plans for two complete light commercial vehicle ranges and establishes economic and industrial objectives.

The two products, whose launch is scheduled in 2006, will be manufactured at the Sevel plants in Val di Sangro (southern Italy), and Valenciennes, France, respectively.

The Italian factory will build the replacements for the current Fiat Ducato and Citroen Jumper (Relay), while the French factory will produce the Fiat Scudo and Citroen Jumpy (Dispatch).

The two companies plan to invest around €1.7 billion of which more than 1 billion will be allocated to the Italian plant project, whose annual production is planned to be some 260,000 units. At the Valenciennes facility, around 130,000 units a year are forecast.

From the beginning of cooperation, more than 2.5 million Ducato and Jumper vehicles have been manufactured at the Val di Sangro plant and about 600,000 Scudo and Jumpy vehicles have been assembled in Valenciennes.