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DaimlerChrysler poised for global R&D shake-up

The ruthless cutback in Chrysler production announced this week by DaimlerChrysler is expected to be followed by a global shake-up in research and development.

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel and America's Wall Street Journal, DC wants to make massive savings in putting new models into production.

DC sources suggest some production will shift to Mitsubishi, in which the group has a 34% stake. A deal is said to have been signed in Tokyo last week.

Chrysler will take responsibility for future medium models in the US, with Mitsubishi developing compact cars, according to the reports.

DC chairman Jurgen Schrempp is under pressure to cut costs and platform-sharing is a priority long-term.

The group is known to be considering increasing its 34% share in Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and has an option to acquire the rest of the group over the next three years.

Dr Eckhard Cordes, DC board member for Asia, has suggested in interviews that joint Mitsubishi-Chrysler dealerships in Europe are a likely outcome of the two carmakers moving closer. DC's share in Mitsubishi would be “increased as soon as possible”, he said.

DC's announcement of savage job cuts at Chrysler plants is further proof that global carmakers are determined to bring production into line with realistic sales targets.

The American division of DaimlerChrysler is to reduce its workforce by 26,000 over the next three years. Around 20,000 will go by the end of the year and the company says most of the employees will take early retirement packages.

Six Chrysler plants – in the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil –will close or have production cut back.



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