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Chrysler may revamp turnaround

In danger of not meeting its recovery goals, the Chrysler group may revise its turnaround plan and accelerate cost cutting, said CEO Dieter Zetsche.

Details on Chrysler's finances will be unveiled Oct. 23, when DaimlerChrysler AG presents third quarter results and elaborates on an earnings warning issued last month.

Zetsche declined to discuss what measures the Chrysler group is considering. "We haven't even yet put different scenarios on the table to compare them."

He would not say whether a new round of measures could include pay cuts similar to the 5 percent salary reductions that sister company Freightliner LLC, the commercial vehicle producer, is considering.

"It's too early to answer how big the negative impact will be and to what extent we will be able to compensate for it," Zetsche said at a press conference Wednesday after the opening of a new dealership in Michigan.

The Chrysler group followed General Motors and Ford Motor Co. with 0 percent financing. Zetsche said while sales have picked up, there is little doubt the burst of volume is pulling sales forward from 2002.

"It is wise to assume the market next year will be smaller than we thought six weeks ago and that with 0 financing it will be difficult to hold back incentives entirely," Zetsche said. "If both of those assumptions were right, that would have negative impact to some extent afterward."

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@autonews.com

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