In the next three years, DaimlerChrysler AG plans to bring 18 car and truck models to market and pump $60 billion into r&d and capital investment.
DaimlerChrysler Chairman Juergen Schrempp, addressing the Automotive News World Congress, said his company will use new technologies and superior manufacturing to reduce product-development times further.
'Everything comes down to speed,' he said. 'You only win if you bring your ideas to market fast.'
DaimlerChrysler spends millions a day on r&d because only superior, innovative products deliver the competitive edge to provide above-average profit margins, Schrempp said.
Last year, before and after the merger, DaimlerChrysler spent about $45 million a day - or $16.4 billion during the year - on research and development and capital investment, he said.
'We plan to plow around $55 (billion) to $60 billion into new ideas and projects over the next three years,' Schrempp said.
His address was by turns humorous and fiery, as he displayed a passion for the new company and its people.
Schrempp said that something as dramatic as the DaimlerChrysler merger likely will happen again in the automotive industry during 1999.
'But not in this speed, proficiency and perfect match,' he said.
DaimlerChrysler continues to talk with Nissan Motor Co. about acquiring its commercial truck unit, Nissan Diesel, Schrempp said.
When asked whether Daimler-Chrysler is interested in automaker Nissan Motor Co., and not just its commercial truck unit, he replied: 'There's a lot of confusion because I've spent now almost a week in Detroit and I have now seen everybody marrying the other one. The fact that we talked to the chief executive of Nissan about Nissan Diesel adds to that kind of confusion. But then I pause, and I say, 'Who knows, huh?''
Schrempp said DaimlerChrysler aims to boost company sales from $148 billion in 1998 to $180 billion in 2001.
A member of the audience asked Schrempp whether he was concerned about Volkswagen AG and its chairman, Ferdinand Piech, who said he would take on Mercedes-Benz.
Schrempp replied: 'He must have confused the name.'