AB Volvo, parent company of Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks, has announced its acquisition of a 13% stake in Japanese truck manufacturer Nissan Diesel from Nissan Motor for 1.5 billion SEK ($195 million).

The transaction strengthens Volvo's position in Asia and will provide the OEM with access to Nissan Diesel's dealer and service network in Japan and Southeast Asia. It also opens doors to joint engine and transmission ventures between the companies, AB Volvo said.

Nissan Diesel is Japan's fourth largest manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, producing almost 40,000 in 2005. Over 90% of Nissan Diesel's sales are made through its own dealer network in Japan and Southeast Asia, AB Volvo said.

This transaction is likely to be a two-way marketing agreement, Chris Brady, president of Commercial Motor Vehicle Consulting, told Fleet Owner. While this will allow AB Volvo to sell its products through Nissan Diesel's network, the Japanese OEM, in turn, will be in a position to distribute its trucks in North America through AB Volvo's Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks networks.

“If you look at Mack and Volvo, their product lineup is focused on Class 8,” Brady said, noting that a Nissan Diesel partnership could expand AB Volvo's North American offerings to include medium-duty trucks. Nissan Diesel currently has very limited dealer access to North America, selling just over 2,600 units in the U.S. in 2005, according to WardsAuto.com.

This marks AB Volvo's largest foray into Asia since it held a 3.3% stake in Mitsubishi Motors in 2000. At that time, Mitsubishi Motors was spinning off its commercial vehicle operations, now known as Mitsubishi Fuso. AB Volvo intended control a 20% share of the fledgling Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Co. — a plan that never saw the light of day when DaimlerChrysler AG bought Volvo's Mitsubishi Motors stake for $297 million in 2001.