DAIMLERCHRYSLER TARGETS FREIGHTLINER FOR CUTS

STUTTGART, Germany — DaimlerChrysler AG says it is working hard to bring the huge company’s earnings back in line, but further cutbacks are on the way, including at its Freightliner truck unit.

“In view of the slump in the market for heavy trucks in the U.S., it will be necessary to reduce production capacities, workforce numbers and costs at Freightliner,” DaimlerChrysler says in a press release.

It says it expects to see lower sales at Freightliner, as well as its Chrsyler Group, for the balance of the year.

The company explains that those reductions are part of a comprehensive turnaround program that also includes its Mitsubishi Motors unit.

As part of the overall cutbacks, the plans include eliminating 9,500 jobs.

DaimlerChrysler noted that its Commercial Vehicles business saw sales drop 12 per cent, to 119,300 vehicles, in the first quarter.

Business at Freightliner, Sterling and Thomas Built Buses was characterized above all by a NAFTA market for heavy trucks that has shrunk by more than 50 per cent since 1999, it explains.

Sales at this business unit were down nearly 50 per cent to 25,100 units, compared to 47,500 a year earlier, it noted.

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