DaimlerChrysler plans to adopt more flexible German production techniques at many of its Chrysler North American sites saving hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, writes the UK's Financial Times (24/11/00).

The newspaper also reported that Dieter Zetsche - who was appointed chief executive of Chrysler last week - approached the United Autoworkers Union on Thursday (23/11/00) about redundancies and cost cuts as well as making Chrysler workers' contracts, which run until 2003, more flexible.

Citing DaimlerChrysler's chief financial officer Manfred Gentz in Berlin, the FT reports that job cuts at Chrysler could not be ruled out. More temporary factory closures - to reduce overstocking - would also take place.

One company executive was also reported to have said that the sites were inflexible - with factories only able to produce a single model - hence the car-maker had suspended production at three plants as there was no demand for their models, while DaimlerChrysler could not meet the demand for its retro-styled PT Cruiser vehicle.

According to the FT, the PT Cruiser will also be built in Graz, Austria next year, although the automaker is said to be seeking at least one more site within the US.

Officially, however, DaimlerChrysler has said that no final decision had been made on US manufacturing changes, although a number of options were being considered.

Wolfgang Bernhard, Chrysler's chief operating officer, is in charge of restructuring, reports the FT.