FRANKFURT - Dieter Zetsche, the head of DaimlerChrysler's U.S. arm Chrysler expects profits to remain strong thanks to successful new products, the Financial Times quoted him on Wednesday as saying.
"We have strong confidence that the momentum we are showing now is sustainable," Zetsche told the newspaper.
Chrysler swung to an operating profit of 516 million euros ($632 million) in the second quarter from a year-earlier loss thanks to a rejuvenated product line-up featuring new models such as its 300 and Dodge Magnum.
Unit sales rose eight percent year-on-year and Chrysler forecast "considerable positive earnings" in 2004 despite margin-eroding incentives that U.S. carmakers dangle before customers.
The FT quoted Joe Eberhardt, Chrysler's executive vice-president of global sales and marketing, as saying the carmaker aimed to rein in heavy incentives that have cut prices to below market levels.
"Our overall direction is to have prices that are much closer to the actual transaction price of the vehicle -- in other words to what the customer ends up paying," he said.
This helps support used car prices and customer perceptions of a car's value, he said, adding: "For us, the most important thing was to stall the increase in incentives."