The Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler AG and Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) announced Dec. 16 their plans to produce mid-sized pickup trucks at the Chrysler Group's Warren (Mich.) Truck Assembly Plant. While the two vehicles will share technology, they will be distinctly different in design to appeal to each brand's customers, according to the companies.Production will begin later next year on the Dodge Dakota. Mitsubishi Motors, extending its growing product line in the United States and Canada, will re-enter the competitive pickup segment in the 2005 calendar year. "This project marks another milestone in DaimlerChrysler's alliance strategy," said Eric Ridenour, executive vice president - product development of the Chrysler Group. "Ultimately, this will allow us both to reduce development, production times and costs while adding to our respective portfolios with distinctly different, high-quality products.""We are excited to expand our product offering with this new pickup, and at the same time, leverage our alliance with DaimlerChrysler to provide even greater value for our customers," said Finbarr O'Neill, co-chairman and CEO of MMNA. Each truck model will showcase a design signature reflective of the individual brand character. Mitsubishi Motors Design Studio in Cypress, Calif., and the Chrysler Design Studio in Auburn Hills, Mich., are each responsible for their unique models. Additional product, production and sales details will be announced later. The project is one of many alliance projects between DaimlerChrysler AG and Mitsubishi Motors in the areas of research, development, procurement, production, marketing and sales. Mitsubishi Motors has a rich heritage in the pickup segment. In 2002, the company sold worldwide more than 90,000 units of its L200 Strada pickup, which finished this year's Dakar Rally in fourth position (behind three other Mitsubishi vehicles). The Chrysler Group, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., is a unit of DaimlerChrysler, the world's fifth largest automaker. Its brands include Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge. In 2002, the Chrysler Group sold 2.81 million vehicles worldwide. Now in its 50th year, the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund, the Company's philanthropic arm, gave $25 million to charitable organizations last year. Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for all manufacturing, finance, sales, marketing, research, and development operations of the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Mitsubishi Motors so far sells coupes, convertibles, sedans and sport utility vehicles through a network of nearly 700 dealers throughout North America.