updated 12/11/2007 6:27:35 PM ET 2007-12-11T23:27:35

Nissan North America Inc. will build a midsize pickup truck for Suzuki Motor Corp. at Nissan's plant in Smyrna, starting in 2008, the companies announced Tuesday.

The pickup will be based on Nissan's Frontier midsize pickup and will be solely marketed by Suzuki in North America. Preparations are underway to retrofit the Smyrna plant.

In 2006, the Japanese automakers announced an agreement to expand the scope of a deal that also included Suzuki supplying Nissan Alto minicars in Japan.

Nissan spokeswoman Katherine Zachary said there were no current plans to add employees for the Suzuki line.

"The production will be achieved with the current workforce," Zachary said in a telephone interview.

Beth Borozan, a spokeswoman for Brea, California-based American Suzuki Motor Corp., said she could not provide specifics about the truck design or discuss marketing plans.

"Not yet," Borozan said. "More will be coming soon."

The companies said in June 2006 that Nissan would supply pickup trucks for Suzuki to sell in North America in an expansion of an agreement that includes supplying vehicles and sharing plants.

That agreement called for Suzuki to supply a small car for Nissan to sell under the Nissan brand in Europe, for Nissan to supply a minivan to Suzuki and for Suzuki to supply an additional minicar model to Nissan, both for the Japanese market.

Nissan does not make its own minivehicles, which have engines of up to 0.66 liters and get tax breaks in Japan.

Nissan has an alliance with Renault SA of France, and the companies said last year that Suzuki would share production facilities in emerging markets, starting at Suzuki's plant in India.

Suzuki has had such supply agreements in the past with General Motors Corp.

The announcement of the timetable for production of the Suzuki truck at Nissan's plant in Tennessee coincided Tuesday with Suzuki officials saying the company would build a new compact hatchback in India that will be sold worldwide.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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