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Business deals

Isuzu partners with Volvo for next-gen trucks

Japanese maker will acquire Swedish group's UD unit as part of deal

Isuzu has been in a number of other tie-ups in the past, its most recent with U.S.-based Cummins to develop eco-friendly trucks.

TOKYO -- Japanese truck maker Isuzu Motors said on Wednesday it will form a strategic alliance with Sweden's Volvo Group to develop next-generation truck technologies, including electric vehicles and autonomous driving.

Under the partnership, Volvo will transfer its UD Trucks business to Isuzu, the Japanese maker said in a press release, which offered no further details of the transaction.

According to Isuzu, the companies signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding "in order to capture the opportunities in the ongoing transformation of the industry." The companies will kick off the partnership by establishing a global technology partnership for heavy-duty trucks.

Volvo Cars is now testing autonomous driving in Europe, where it is considered one of the leaders in the technology.

Isuzu has a strong presence in Asia's small to medium-size truck market while Volvo's large trucks command a sizable market share in Europe.

Volvo President and CEO Martin Lundstedt, right, and Isuzu President Masanori Katayama shake hands during a news conference in Tokyo on Dec. 18. (Photo by Kei Higuchi)

"Isuzu and Volvo will work as equal partners toward creating new values," Isuzu President Masanori Katayama said at a press conference. Volvo CEO Martin Lundstedt also voiced confidence in creating synergies through the partnership.

UD Trucks, formerly known as Nissan Diesel, joined the Volvo Group in 2007 and changed its name in 2010.

Isuzu has been in a number of tie-ups with other companies in the past. U.S General Motors bought a stake in Isuzu in 1971, but the two companies split up in 2006.

In the same year, Isuzu and Toyota Motor agreed to a capital tie-up but ended the alliance in 2018. After separating from Toyota, Isuzu partnered with U.S. truck engine maker Cummins to develop eco-friendly engines.

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