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DCX 'will be the profitable commercial vehicle manufacturer'

Untertuerkheim, Germany. DaimlerChrysler AG aims to achieve as much uniformity as possible and as much regional differentiation as necessary to strengthen its worldwide leadership in the commercial trucks sector.

Commercial vehicle chief Eckhard Cordes said that synergies between the large group brands Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner and, since the beginning of 2004, Fuso could be used to an even greater degree.

At the beginning of 2004 the product planning, product development, production strategy and planning and purchasing segments became the new "Truck Product Creation" - "4P" - business group.

The group's goal is to create a continuous portfolio by using all of the synergies' potential.

"We plan to become the world's most profitable commercial vehicle manufacturer," Gerald Weber, head of 4P said.

"We are currently in the process of making organizational changes. Many of which have already been realized and which are increasing our profitability."

DaimlerChrysler employees from three continents used to do planning and engineering more or less independently. Now their knowledge is being pooled within 4P's "lead engineering".

"So far we have 58 lead engineering teams worldwide. They are organized within a matrix structure and exchange ideas and concepts all over the world, which are then used within specific vehicles," Weber said.

4P also plays an important part in the design engineering of the "world motor" for heavy trucks.

Mercedes-Benz, Detroit Diesel, Fuso and Freightliner are currently working on an engine range with 9.9-, 12.0- and 14.8-liter capacity. The engines will soon be available with the group brands and will be launched in the United States in 2007. By 2010 all of the group's brands will be using the engines.

Weber said: "One advantage of our new structure is that with this project we are also able to share experience and test results from prototype tests of different vehicles worldwide."

4P should help Freightliner to increase sales of Mercedes-Benz and Detroit Diesel engines in the United States. The share of DaimlerChrysler engines used in Freightliner trucks in the USA increased to 54 percent in 2003 from 29 percent in 2000.

Despite this, Weber is against a so-called "world truck". He said that "only a customer orientated business will be a successful business within the commercial trucks sector."

The realization of the much-discussed uniform truck is also limited due to countries' different registration regulations and diverse areas of operation.

Weber added: "We will make use of the full potential of global product development that lies within these limits."

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