By the end of March 7,800 Mercedes Car Group workers had signed voluntary redundancy agreements, according to dpa-AFX news agency.

DaimlerChrysler is targeting total voluntary redundancies of 8,500 people, and 90% of the target appears to have been reached. The scheme runs until September and is offered to workers at the Sindelfingen and Bremen plants.

The total cost of the programme is €950m. DaimlerChrysler has allocated a further €2bn to axe 6,000 white and blue-collar workers worldwide by 2008.