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Fiat Kobelco Launched in Europe

CNH Global N.V. announced the creation of Fiat Kobelco Construction Machinery S.p.A. The new joint venture will encompass both the operations and distribution network of Fiat-Hitachi and Kobelco's European activities. CNH will own 75 percent of the new entity, Kobelco Construction Machinery will hold a 20 percent interest and Sumitomo Corp. will maintain its 5 percent stake. The action is concurrent with the ending of the European regional alliance between CNH and Hitachi Construction Machinery.

Beginning immediately, the line of heavy construction equipment previously sold under the Fiat-Hitachi brand will be sold under the Fiat Kobelco brand. These products, all of which utilize CNH technology and are built in CNH factories, include wheeled and crawler excavators, wheeled loaders, dozers, and graders. The company's line of light equipment, including backhoe loaders and skid steer loaders will also be sold under the Fiat Kobelco brand.

Beginning in January 2003, in Europe, crawler excavators using Kobelco's state of the art Japanese technology will be manufactured in the company's San Mauro, Italy plant and sold under the Fiat Kobelco brand. Fiat Kobelco branded mini-excavators, also based on Kobelco technology, will be manufactured in Imola, Italy. Kobelco branded excavators will continue to be supplied from Japan.

These actions represent the second phase in the formation of the alliance between CNH, Kobelco and Kobe Steel, which was signed Jan. 10, 2002 in Tokyo.

In the third phase of the formation of the alliance, to be completed by the third quarter of 2004, Kobelco Construction Machinery has the option to increase its interest in Fiat Kobelco to 35 percent, while CNH has the option to increase its interest in Kobelco Construction Machinery to 35 percent.

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