Koepke restructures DaimlerChrysler German sales group

DaimlerChrysler sales chief cutting up to 700 jobs

Berlin. The restructuring of DaimlerChrysler has had a more profound effect on the company's sales organization for Germany, DCVD, than had been expected.

Automobilwoche has learned that up to 700 DCVD jobs are to be cut, instead of the 600 originally announced. A DCVD spokesman would not comment on the figures.

In a communication to employees obtained by Automobilwoche, DCVD Chairman Christoph Koepke asked for understanding.

"Our capacity and costs in all parts of the value chain are too high," he wrote.

It is expected that about 8,500 of DaimlerChrysler's 93,000 employees in Germany will be cut over a one-year period.

This is being accomplished with financial settlements (as high as 275,000 euros, or about $331,500 at current exchange rates), semi-retirement, part-time work, early pensions and sabbaticals.

Employees who transfer to other company divisions for capacity-related reasons receive 10,000 euros, equal to about $12,000 at current exchange rates.

DCVD has about 1,000 employees in its Berlin central office,

There are also more than 17,000 staff members in its 45 branch offices, which have 139 locations. They account for between 45 percent and 50 percent of new registrations.

All together, the Mercedes brand has 519 sales and 1,107 service centers.

"We have 180 more locations in our network than our direct competitors have," Koepke said.

"That doesn't necessarily mean too many," a spokesman said. It is rather that their distribution is "often not ideal." In a few weeks, DCVD will address this by introducing a new agency agreement offering "greater efficiencies."

The Chrysler Group's network in Germany is expected to grow by 40 branch offices. It now consists of 176 sales and 256 service locations.

Meanwhile, Koepke criticized the weak emotional attachment that some dealers have for the American brand.

The company's US division expects a 14 percent drop in sales for 2005 to 16,000 vehicles.

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