DaimlerChrysler will increase staff at its North American trucks unit this year, ending a reorganisation in which it cut half of its US jobs, the head of commercial vehicles was reported as saying on Friday.

“We will add around 2,000 people in the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) area,” Eckhard Cordes, DaimlerChrysler board member responsible for commercial vehicles, said at a conference in Frankfurt, according to Reuters.

Cordes reportedly said demand for commercial vehicles is picking up and DaimlerChrysler’s trucks division cut its staff from 22,000 to 11,000 while closing three US plants during the recent reorganisation.

Reuters noted that Cordes had said earlier this year he was pinning his hopes for a recovery on the North American market as European truck sales remain subdued.

He reportedly said in March that 220,000 heavy trucks could be sold in the NAFTA region during 2004, reaching this level a year earlier than originally expected – the overall market there has been mired around the 180,000 level for three years.

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DaimlerChrysler’s Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star brands last year had 38% of the NAFTA market for trucks of 15 tonnes or more, Reuters noted.