Daimler AG is tying up with Russia’s OAO Kamaz on two commercial-vehicle assembly joint ventures as part of a strategic partnership agreement signed by with Kamaz Russian Technologies and investment bank Troika Dialog in December.

Fuso Kamaz Trucks Rus, with equity split equally between Daimler and Kamaz, will begin producing Fuso Canter trucks in first-quarter 2010 from semi-knocked-down kits imported from Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. in Japan.

The partners each will invest €4.1 million ($6.1 million) in the project, which will assemble the trucks at Kamaz operations in Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia. The JV’s sales headquarters will be in Kazan, Russia.

Daimler says there already are 11,000 Fuso trucks operating on Russian roads.

A second JV, Mercedes-Benz Trucks Vostok, will be charged with SKD assembly of Mercedes Actros and Axor heavy-duty commercial vehicles, also in Naberezhnye Chelny. Daimler and Kamaz each will control 50% of the operation and contribute €5.9 million ($8.8 million) in capital.

Assembly is set to begin in second-quarter 2010, but the JV will launch sales from its headquarters in Moscow in January.

The two new JVs are considered a critical part of Daimler Trucks’ Global Excellence Program launched in 2005 and aimed at growing global market penetration.

“The implementation of the two joint venture projects between Kamaz and Daimler Trucks has brought us a giant step towards to the expansion of our presence in the Russian market,” Andreas Renschler, who heads Daimler commercial vehicle operation, says in a statement. “As soon as the Russian truck market will recover, we at Daimler Trucks are able to react on any additional truck demand immediately.”

Meanwhile, press reports indicate Daimler may want to up its stake in Kamaz, currently at 10%, to as much as 25%. Daimler is said to be in talks with Troika Dialog about acquiring a portion of its 44% share of Kamaz.