Chrysler on target, says executive

Dieter Zetsche, head of DaimlerChrysler's North American subsidiary Chrysler Group, said his division is exceeding its cost-cutting goals and plans to roll out 11 new car and truck models by 2004. Zetsche said during a speech at the National Press Club in Washington that the North American group has already cut $3.3 billion in operating costs. Though Chrysler was forced to cut its vehicle research and development budget from $42 billion to $30 billion over the next five years, Zetsche said the division has boosted the number of new vehicles it plans to introduce over the next two years from six to 11 models. Zetsche added that the company has been able to take advantage of new resources gained from its DaimlerChrysler partners to make itself stronger. "We are now part of a larger organization, and that has many more benefits," Zetsche said. "It's a formula that none of the other domestic automotive manufacturers are able to tap into, including access to the cutting-edge European technology of Mercedes-Benz."

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