General Motors Europe (GME) and Caterpillar Logistics Services have inked a 10-year agreement to form joint venture Caterpillar Logistics Supply Chain Services GmbH, to distribute GM parts in Europe.

This project is part of GME’s comprehensive restructuring programme announced last autumn.

Caterpillar already operates a full parts supply service for Cadillac in Europe, now-defunct UK car maker MG Rover worldwide and Mazda in the US and Canada.

“Serving as a third party logistics provider, the joint venture will implement Cat Logistics’ industry best practices to deliver aftermarket warehouse productivity increases, ultimately having a positive impact on service levels and the financial performance of GME’s supply chain,” GME said in a statement.

The joint venture will be responsible for operations at GME’s parts and accessories distribution facilities in Bochum and Russelsheim, Germany, and Rome, Italy. By December 1, approximately 100 employees from GME’s Italian warehouse will transfer to the joint venture. By February 1, 2006, another 1,100 employees from GME’s German facilities will follow.

“We are confident that teaming with Cat Logistics will take our European logistics performance to a new level, providing an even more reliable service to our retailers and customers. The joint venture will make a significant contribution toward improving our overall competitiveness in Europe,” the statement quoted Jonathan Browning, vice president sales, marketing and aftersales of General Motors Europe, as saying.

The 150,000 square metre Bochum, Germany, facility stores over 100,000 parts and components, and will have responsibility for replenishing 11 European parts distribution centres as well as providing parts to non-European customers.

Around 2,500 German, Swiss and Austrian customers will be served from the 120,000 m2 facility at Russelsheim, Germany. The 15,000 m2 parts distribution centre in Rome, Italy will continue to serve 400 Italian and Greek customers.