Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne is seeking to merge Fiat Industrial, a Milan-based farming- and construction-vehicle maker, with U.S.-based CNH Global N.V., a Netherlands-registered industrial-vehicle manufacturer in which FI holds an 88% share.

The move would shift the combined company’s capital center to the U.S. and better position its vehicle brands that include Iveco, Case and New Holland against their main competitors.

Marchionne, who also is CEO of auto makers Fiat and Chrysler, filed the proposed transaction with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today. The new company would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange with a secondary European listing.

The combined companies will not carry the Fiat name, Marchionne says at a press conference, but CNH would be given “unrestricted access” to FI’s technology. The merger would create the world’s third-largest capital goods company behind Caterpillar and Volvo.

Marchionne cautions against speculation that the FI-CNH merger plan also could be applied to Fiat and Chrysler. As with CNH, Fiat also holds a controlling stake in the U.S. auto maker.

“There are significant differences in the corporate structure approach that we've proposed here,” Marchionne says, noting that talks of a full consolidation between FI and CNH began before Fiat acquired its share in Chrysler.

Analysts say the proposed merger of the two truck makers underscores efforts by multinational companies to diversify their sources of capital in light of the worsening sovereign-debt crisis in Europe’s eurozone.