By AUTOMOTIVE NEWS AutoWeek
If anyone can make the Chrysler group and Mercedes work together smoothly, it's Dieter Zetsche.
The former CEO of the Chrysler group became CEO of DaimlerChrysler AG on Jan. 1. He talked about transatlantic cooperation and other challenges with a group of Automotive News editors and reporters at the Detroit auto show.
DaimlerChrysler will bring four diesel engines to the United States for Mercedes this year. Can we expect something similar for Chrysler?
We are installing BlueTec (diesel technology) in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. How far we will stretch this technology in the Chrysler product lineup is not finally decided at this time. But quite definitely, DaimlerChrysler, including the different brands, is serious in leveraging the opportunity this technology builds for the U.S. market.
What is the time frame for fixing Smart?
In 2007, we want to reach break even. We set up a plan to accomplish that last year, and we are moving along those lines.
What about Smart for North America?
Technically it is feasible, and we see quite some growing interest in this concept in the metropolitan areas of the U.S.
There are two remaining parts which are linked: What should the distribution look like, and do we see a volume-price relationship which makes for a feasible plan?