"Acquisitions are an option for growth," said Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche this week.

Zetsche told dpa-AFX he is particularly interesting in expanding in the truck and service sectors, as well as insurance. He also thinks that emissions reduction is another growth area.

Zetsche reconfirmed current forecasts for the year, saying that he is optimistic that the company will grow in all areas during 2008.

Zetsche said he thought it very unlikely that Daimler would attempt another acquisition in the passenger car sector. He said Daimler would only invest if the business offered good profit opportunity and strategic added value and 'not because we don't know where the money will go". With a net liquidity of almost EUR14bn Zetsche said there are no limits to how strong the company can become.

Zetsche would not rule out another share buyback prorgramme. Daimler has bought back almost 5% of its own shares with the current buyback programme. By the end of August 2008 that should have risen to around 10%.

Zetsche confirmed that BMW may be a potential partner for Daimler, although he stressed that Daimler is well equipped to develop everything it needs alone. He said it does nevertheless make sense to consider whether it might be more efficient to do some things with a partner. He said that the two parties have been investigating potential areas in which to cooperate and there are some areas in which he is optimistic there will be projects. He said that Daimler and BMW have considered some other joint projects and decided not to go ahead with them.

A new low-cost brand?

Zetsche was skeptical about BMW's idea to introduce a fourth brand. He said that it might make some sense for some companies to push their portfolio in the direction of Fiat or Peugeot, but he is not sure it is a good move. In any case Daimler already has the Smart brand. He said he is not ruling out that there is also room for a product between the Smart and the A-class, but there has to be a good business case. It is not worth doing this just to reduce average fleet emissions, he said.