DETROIT -- Chrysler group CEO Dieter Zetsche told the Detroit News in a report published Monday that the automaker could introduce a new youth-oriented brand in the next two to three years.
A source with DaimlerChrysler AG's U.S. division told the newspaper that the automaker has been looking into the idea for more than a year, has already developed three concept vehicles for the brand and will likely decide whether to launch it by year end.
"(The concept) was not driven in the first place by the idea of a youth brand, but more of an idea of creating an affordable brand," Zetsche told the newspaper.
The source said the brand would be sold in existing Chrysler group dealerships but would be marketed separately, much like Toyota Motor Co. handles its Scion brand.
If Chrysler rejects the idea, the source said, the entry-level vehicles would be sold under existing Chrysler nameplates.
Zetsche told the Detroit News in an interview last week that the automaker will likely seek a low-cost partner to help develop products for the brand, which would be a spinoff of either Dodge or Jeep. He said Chrysler has approached several automakers but declined to name them.
He pointed out that Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. -- both partially owned by DaimlerChrysler -- aren't necessarily among the possible partners.