DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler unit plans to introduce 25 new vehicles in the United States in the next three years, dramatically accelerating the pace of new roll-outs, its top executive said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

"All told, and I'm saying this in public for the first time here in Boston, Chrysler Group will bring 25 new vehicles to market over the next 36 months," Chrysler's president and chief executive Dieter Zetsche said, the report added.

Speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives' Club, Zetsche said he was optimistic that the world's fifth-largest car maker will see better times ahead and that the ambitious roll-out plan includes the launch of nine new vehicles in 2004, Reuters said.

Zetsche reportedly said: "That will be the most new vehicles ever launched by any auto manufacturer in the US in a one-year period."

However, General Motors spokesman Brian Akre disputed that claim, Reuters added, saying his firm will launch 12 all-new vehicles in the US market next year.

Reuters said the accelerated pace at Chrysler comes at a time few analysts expect to see an improvement in the cut-throat US light vehicle market this year while many say Chrysler will be forced to downsize and close assembly plants.

Chrysler will this year launch a total of only three new vehicles: the Pacifica, the Chrysler Crossfire and the Dodge Durango, Reuters added.

The company expects its US unit to post a slight operating profit for the 2003 business year, Reuters said, adding that executives are cautious, saying economic risks still loom after Chrysler's surprising $US1.1 billion second-quarter loss.

According to the report, Zetsche on Wednesday acknowledged the tough environment, calling it a "jungle."

"I'm certain that we'll have to make any number of short-term adjustments to adapt moving forward, depending on how the environment takes shape," he said, according to Reuters.

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