Germany’s DaimlerChrysler AG said it would begin selling and servicing Mitsubishi Canter trucks starting in December.

The Canter, with GVW ratings ranging from 3.5 to 7.5 tons, will be offered in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Sweden, and Poland starting December 3 at special Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle dealerships, said DaimlerChrysler.

However, the German manufacturer stressed that the Mitsubishi Canter brand, will, however, remain totally independent.

The Mitsubishi Canter was previously offered through Swedish truck maker AB Volvo’s sales network. That changed with an April 2001 agreement covering DaimlerChrysler’s acquisition of Volvo's 3.3 % share of Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) plus all rights pertaining to the alliance between Mitsubishi Motors and Volvo. The agreement involves the development and planning of new products, as well as the rights to sell light-duty MMC trucks.

DaimlerChrysler purchased a 34 % stake in Mitsubishi in March 2000 for $2.1 billion, primarily in an effort to build the German manufacturer’s market share in Asia. The deal boosted DaimlerChrysler’s market share in Asia from 3% to 21% and makes the joint firm the world’s third-largest producer of cars and light trucks behind General Motors and Ford Motor Co.

Mitsubishi, however, is struggling – the company lost $160 million in 2000 on sales of $32.6 billion. Also, this is not the first try at an alliance between the two. In 1987, Daimler-Benz and Mitsubishi worked out a deal whereby Mercedes cars and commercial trucks would be sold in Japan through Mitsubishi’s dealer network. However, the alliance fell apart as Mitsubishi tried to have its then-heavy truck line built in Mercedes Benz truck plants in Europe.