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A U.S. heavy truck unit of DaimlerChrysler AG will begin selling a heavy-duty four-wheel-drive vehicle envisioned as a competitor to General Motors Corp.'s Hummer in the market for military spinoffs, the company said today.

"If you want the ultimate in versatile vehicles, this is it," DaimlerChrysler spokesman Othmar Stein said of the so-called Unimog, a truck currently made by Mercedes in Gaggenau. "This thing makes the Hummer look anemic."

Nine feet tall, seven feet wide and weighing 12,500 pounds, the truck has a decades-old history of service with customers including the German military, logging companies and fire departments.

DaimlerChrysler will start taking U.S. orders in October.

The diesel-fueled vehicle, which has a 52-gallon tank and gets about 10 miles a gallon, will still be produced in Germany, Stein said. But the new thrust is to target the American market: affluent off-road enthusiasts, fire departments and businesses needing to haul some 13,000 pounds of passengers and cargo.

Stein said it is unlikely to catch on as a favorite for soccer moms because of the price of the vehicle, which is expected to be $84,000.

The Unimog is a foot longer than Ford Motor Co.'s Excursion and 3.5 inches wider than General Motor's Hummer, a vehicle whose design is based on an American military transport.

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