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France Inks Iveco Truck Deal After Renault Protest

The French government has signed a controversial contract worth 160 million euros ($214 million) with Iveco of Italy for a first batch of 200 heavy trucks for the French Army, an order which prompted a protest from the head of Renault Trucks, which lost in the bidding. The contract, signed at the “end of December,” calls for Iveco to deliver its 15-ton, eight-wheel-drive truck in 2013 and 2014 for the Porteur Polyvalent Terrestre (PPT) program, an official of the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) procurement office said Jan 4. The contract award was not officially announced, but the contract win by Iveco and its French partner, Lohr, was reported in business daily Les Echos. The program aims to renew the Army’s truck fleet, with the total number reported to be 2,000 trucks and worth just under 1 billion euros. The Soframe military unit of the private Lohr group, based near Strasbourg in eastern France, will act as a supplier to Iveco. The chairman of Renault Trucks, Stefano Chmielewski, wrote an open letter in Les Echos on Dec. 30, protesting against press commentary alleging economic nationalism after its Renault Trucks Defense unit lodged an appeal against the award to Iveco, the trucks division of Fiat. Renault Trucks is a subsidiary of the Swedish Volvo auto group but has a large industrial presence in France. Renault Trucks Defense had bid in the competition, lost and lodged an appeal in an administrative tribunal. When the appeal failed in mid-December, the way was open for Defense Minister Alain Juppé to ratify the selection by the DGA. The truck contract was duly signed with Iveco at the end of December, promptly the angry letter from the head of Renault Trucks. Under the contract, four models of the truck will be supplied: a container version; one to carry shelters, cargo and personnel; a recovery vehicle; and one for carrying a skip. The Iveco truck is described as highly maneuverable and can operate on all surface conditions. The first batch consists of 150 of the container model and 50 recovery vehicles, equipped with armored cabins.

PIERRE TRAN Defense News January 4, 2011 PARIS –

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