DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler division CEO Dieter Zetsche is predicting another tough year and is planning first-quarter production lower than last year, according to the Forbes magazine website.

According to Forbes, Zetsche told press at the Los Angeles motor show: “The very high level of incentives in December will not provide for a great retail January most likely, so we are prepared for a production which takes into account those influences, which most likely will not be a higher number than a year ago.”

Forbes said Chrysler built 662,000 vehicles in North America in the first quarter of 2002 and its first quarter production news came after Ford said it expects to make fewer cars this quarter, leaving General Motors as the only major American car manufacturer to increase first-quarter production.

According to Forbes, Zetsche reiterated that 2003 was going to be a weak one for the industry, and that economic uncertainty and the possible war with Iraq made any projections tenuous.

“I know what our plan is for the coming year, but I don’t know about the realism of our assumptions,” Zetsche said, according to Forbes.