DaimlerChrysler has issued a statement saying that DC and the UAW have been unable to reach an agreement on healthcare 'at this time'.

DC said that 'we were advised by the UAW that based on its financial analysis, it did not believe its members would ratify an agreement that achieved economic parity with deals reached at General Motors and Ford. The company was prepared to accept a proposal that did not reach full economic parity, however, the UAW was not willing to move forward with that proposal'.

The statement added that 'in this era of global competitiveness, healthcare relief is as important to DaimlerChrysler as it is to Ford and GM. At US$2.3 billion this year, health care will represent DaimlerChrysler's single-largest fixed cost'.

The statement went on:

"As Ron Gettelfinger said recently, the domestic industry needs a level playing field with transplant manufacturers. Currently DaimlerChrysler's labor cost disadvantage to transplant automakers in the U.S. is US$1000 per vehicle. Even a pattern health care agreement would reduce that disadvantage by only 20% for DaimlerChrysler. It is unfortunate that the UAW wasn't willing to assist us in taking the first step to leveling that playing field.

"Sooner or later, we -- including the UAW -- are going to have to deal with this greater issue."