STUTTGART - Cars and trucks from the former Chrysler Corp. earned the bulk of operating profits for DaimlerChrysler AG last year.
Chrysler Corp. vehicles contributed 4.2 billion euros ($4.5 billion at current exchange rates) to the newly merged company's operating profits of $9.3 billion. Operating profits for the Mercedes-Benz passenger-car unit grew to $2.2. billion. The Chrysler figure was up 25 percent and the Mercedes result was up 16 percent over the previous year when they were independent companies.
Commercial-vehicle operating profits nearly tripled, to $1.0 billion. DaimlerChrysler also has aerospace and financial services businesses.
The results of the business units were disclosed during the newly combined company's first financial-results press conference here. In late February, the company said higher than expected costs of the merger had trimmed 1999 net income to $5.2 billion.
Operating profits are operating income before taxes, excluding interest income, interest expenses and certain other costs.
DaimlerChrysler expects 'significantly' better results this year in the United States, a small rise in European markets and no significant growth in the South American region before 2000.
'Asia continues to concern us,' said Juergen Schrempp, DaimlerChrysler chairman. 'But in the long term we regard the Asian markets as a very good opportunity.'
Overall, the company expects a 4 percent increase in sales and operating profits for 1999.
DaimlerChrysler Chairman Robert Eaton said he expects more senior managers to leave the company as a natural consequence of last year's merger.
Some executives accustomed to being No. 1 in their previous organization and who now find themselves No. 2 or 3 at the merged company are likely to quit, he said.
SCHREMPP: 'ME WORRY?'
Several high-profile figures - mainly from the Chrysler side of the business - have left in recent months. In April, product development chief Chris Theodore and manufacturing chief Shamel Rushwin left to join Ford Motor Co.
Schrempp said he was not worried about the management drain on both sides of the company.
'It's not possible to keep double management positions if you want to integrate the two companies and gain the full synergy potential of the merger,' he said.
'We are continuing with our high integration speed, and we are fully on target with our plans. On the business side, the integration will take only two to three years. On the human side, it will take longer - maybe five years.'