TOKYO -- Isuzu Motors (IW 1000/244) said Thursday it was in discussions with General Motors (IW 500/4) on developing next-generation pickup trucks as a report said the two were in talks over a possible tie-up.

The firms have signed an agreement "on launching talks" to develop the vehicles and "will make an announcement at the appropriate time," Isuzu said.

The announcement came after Japan's leading Nikkei business daily said the pair would likely reach an agreement later this month on a joint venture.

Under the reported deal, GM will start procuring about 100,000 engines for pickups from Isuzu, while looking to a possible investment in the Japanese firm.

Demand for pickups has been growing in many emerging nations, partly due to poor road conditions

In 2006, GM sold its long-standing minority stake in Isuzu -- most of which was bought by Toyota -- to generate cash as the ailing automaker was undergoing a massive restructuring.

Last year, reports said Isuzu would spend 30 billion yen US($340 million) on building new factories in China and India to tap rising demand for pickup trucks in the fast-growing markets.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013