DaimlerChrysler said on Friday that a US judge, rather than a jury, would decide on the lawsuit between the car maker and billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian about the 1998 merger that formed the company, Reuters said.

"The judge has decided he and not a jury will rule on the case," a DaimlerChrysler spokesman told the news agency.

Reuters said the decision may help the car maker as juries tend to favour individuals rather than big corporates, although it is unclear how much sympathy a jury would have for the wealthy businessman.

The news agency noted that Kerkorian, whose company Tracinda owned 13% of Chrysler before the merger with Daimler-Benz, is suing the world's fifth-biggest car maker for $US8 billion, saying that the 1998 deal was billed as a merger of equals rather than a takeover to keep the price down.

The investor filed the suit after DaimlerChrysler chief executive Juergen Schrempp told the Financial Times that he had always meant to relegate Chrysler to a division of the group, Reuters added.

It is unclear if the suit will go to court or whether the judge will make a summary judgement, but a trial date has been set for December 1, the report said.

"We are happy to be trying this case in court next month," a Tracinda spokeswoman told Reuters, adding: "This was never a case that required drama or emotion and having no jury will have no relevance or bearing on the case."

Reuters noted that, in August, DaimlerChrysler said it would settle with a separate group of disgruntled former Chrysler investors for $300 million and this was approved by a US federal judge in October.

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