Daimler Trucks has announced the start of production of the Fuso Canter truck in Russia.

The 7.5-ton truck produced by the joint venture Fuso Kamaz Trucks Rus (FKTR) is being presented to Russian trade visitors for the first time at the Comtrans trade show for commercial vehicles, which is being held in Moscow from April 20 to 24, 2010. Sales will start in June.

The 50:50 joint venture between Kamaz and Daimler, the primary shareholder of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), was established in 2009 and is responsible for importing, producing, and selling Fuso trucks in Russia.

The objective of FKTR is to occupy a new segment in the Russian market with Fuso brand trucks. The trucks are being manufactured at a facility in Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia, while the joint venture’s sales department and management are based in Kazan, Russia.

The basis of the joint venture FKTR is a strategic partnership that Daimler Trucks established with Kamaz, Russian Technologies, and the investment bank Troika Dialog in December 2008. In connection with this partnership, Daimler acquired a 10 percent stake in Kamaz. Subsequently, in February 2010, Daimler Trucks announced it was in negotiations to initially increase together with the access of the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) its holding in Kamaz by five percent to 15 percent.

For MFTBC, Kamaz, and Daimler Trucks, the entry of Fuso trucks into the Russian market is being described as a key strategic development. This is the opportunity to serve one of the world’s largest future truck markets in cooperation with a strong partner that already has a major presence and a wide dealer network there.

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“With the official entry of Mitsubishi Fuso into the Russian market, MFTBC takes an important step in a key growth market. MFTBC sees great further potential in the Russian commercial vehicle market and believes Mitsubishi Fuso vehicles can play an important role here,” says Dr. Albert Kirchmann, President and CEO of MFTBC.

For Kamaz, which is already the Russian truck market leader, the joint venture provides new opportunities for sales and for bringing additional modern vehicle technologies to the market.

“Kamaz is very pleased to see the start of Fuso truck production and sales in Russia,” said Mr. Sergei A. Kogogin, Director General of KAMAZ Inc. “This project will not only allow us to introduce our customers a quality product, but will also give us modern technology vehicles and opportunities to integrate the world automobile industry.”

“With the arrival of the world famous Canter light-duty truck, we give our potential customers the opportunity to appreciate all the advantages of its economy and reliability and at the same time offer them a very comfortable vehicle,” said Mr. Albert Yagudin, FKTR President. “I would like to stress that aftersales and the quality of our services will be our priorities.”

FKTR is launching the production of Fuso trucks for the Russian market in Naberezhnye Chelny, the second-largest city in the Russian republic of Tatarstan. The first vehicles have already been produced. The Fuso production area encompasses some 12,000 square meters including assembly, vehicle inspection, and logistics, Vehicles are being assembled from semi-knocked-down (SKD) kits shipped from Japan. A program of further localization will start in the near future.

An initial core group of approximately 30 dealer locations is being established to cover major cities including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, and Krasnodar. The network will include dealers affiliated with Kamaz and Mercedes-Benz trucks, as well as independent shops. FKTR is also building up strong parts availability and service quality, as these are key factors for commercial vehicle operators.