DaimlerChrysler AG is preparing to pay its German workers record bonuses, despite just axing 26,000 workers from its struggling Chrysler Group in the U.S., The Detroit News reported.

The newspaper said that the giant auto maker would distribute profit-sharing bonuses averaging $US1,481, boosted $US181 from 1999, to its German workforce of 140,000.

The increase is due to strong sales at D-C’s Mercedes-Benz unit, which sold over one million cars and sports utility vehicles last year.

The Detroit News quoted Eric Klemm, who represents DaimlerChrysler’s German employees on the company’s supervisory board as saying that the board “considered it right to connect employees’ profit share to the success of the Mercedes-Benz car, Smart and commercial vehicles division, and not to the company’s overall results”.