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September 4, 2009

GERMANY: Daimler on track says Zetsche

Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche has told German newspaper Bild that he expected the company to perform better next year and would achieve significantly more than EUR4bn (US$5.71bn) in savings this year, adding that there were no current plans for forced layoffs.

Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche has told German newspaper Bild that he expected the company to perform better next year and would achieve significantly more than EUR4bn (US$5.71bn) in savings this year, adding that there were no current plans for forced layoffs.

Daimler has adapted to the global slump in demand by announcing a raft of savings measures including cutting working hours. Global car sales at Mercedes-Benz fell 17.5% in the first seven months of this year, while sales at its market-leading trucks business plunged 48% in the first half.

Around 25% of Daimler’s 160,000 staff in German car, truck and parts plants are already on short hours, a scheme in which the government helps by subsidising pay for affected workers as a way to avoid layoffs.

Daimler also has a joint purchasing programme with rival BMW but Zetsche discounted the possibility of joint ventures with other German carmakers for the time being, although he said such options had been considered.

He added: “We are speaking to volume auto makers. But Opel doesn’t offer advantages. We have also talked to Porsche from time to time, but there wasn’t more than that.”

Zetsche said Daimler was keen to continue in Formula One racing, adding that he saw possibilities for remaining in the sport in a more cost efficient manner.

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