New sales chief
Joe Eberhardt, 39, another German at the top of the Chrysler group, took over sales and marketing last week. He replaced Jim Schroer, who left the company.
Eberhardt's task is huge. Zetsche wants to nudge the Chrysler brand upscale, part of an ambitious plan to reduce rebates in the incentive-soaked U.S. market.
Eberhardt worked for about 10 years in the United States as a Mercedes-Benz sales executive, so he knows the American market. But can he make the shift from selling an elite luxury brand to selling the Chrysler group's mass-market brands? Pressure on the Pacifica
The Chrysler group's financial trouble raises the stakes on the launch, now under way, of the Chrysler Pacifica, an upscale sport wagon. The company acknowledges that it must clarify the vehicle's identity. (See story, Page 3.) More cost-cutting
The company said last week it would increase efforts to cut costs, which will mean more pressure on already-stressed parts suppliers. A hiring freeze is in place at Chrysler. Merit pay increases for salaried workers have been delayed from July to October.
Chrysler plans to promote Peter Rosenfeld, 45, from vice president to executive vice president of purchasing at year end. (See story, Page 3.)