Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche expects his contract to be renewed after his current term expires at the end of this year, he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

There has been speculation in the German media about Zetsche’s future as investors have grown increasingly worried about Daimler’s inability to close the performance gap with rivals Audi and BMW.

He told the newspaper, however: “At the moment there are good indications that I will continue as the head of Daimler,” adding that the supervisory board would take a decision on renewing his contract next month.

Daimler issued a profit warning last October, saying it was facing “significantly more difficult market conditions”. It has promised EUR2bn (US$2.7bn) in cost cuts at Mercedes by the end of 2014.

“I assume that we will be able to sell significantly more cars in the future and that our productivity will rise,” Zetsche added. “Overall, the number of employees should remain largely constant.”