AB Volvo of Sweden, the world’s No.2 truck maker, has issued a public offer to acquire Japanese competitor Nissan Diesel for $1.1 billion.

The offer, which has the support of Nissan Diesel’s board of directors, would increase Volvo’s presence in Asia substantially and provide access to the Japanese company’s hybrid-electric powertrain technology.

The acquisition also would provide both truck makers access to the other’s dealer and service networks.

“Nissan Diesel’s products and know-how represent a valuable complement to the group’s truck business,” says Volvo CEO Leif Johansson. “Nissan Diesel holds a solid position in Japan and the rest of Asia where the Volvo Group foresees substantial growth potential.

“A merger offers both parties greater possibilities to learn and benefit from each other’s know-how and resources.”

Nissan Diesel, which sold approximately 42,000 trucks and buses in 2005, holds a 24% share of the heavy-truck segment in Japan and 15% of the medium-heavy segment.

Volvo in September acquired a 19% holding in Nissan Diesel, plus preference shares that can be converted to an additional 27.5% after full dilution, the truck maker says.

At the time, Volvo also purchased all 57.5 million preference shares in Nissan Diesel, which through 2014, would be converted in stages. In 2014, the shares would provide Volvo with 46.5% of the votes and capital in the truck maker, after full dilution, the company says.

The offer for Nissan Diesel, which is open until March 23, requires the necessary approvals from antitrust authorities, officials say.