GENEVA -- DaimlerChrysler AG is aiming to boost operating earnings at its luxury Mercedes arm by 4 billion euros ($5.29 billion) by 2007, more than was announced last month, the group said on Thursday.
The higher target was revealed by Mercedes Car Group chief Eckhard Cordes to analysts attending the Geneva car show, a spokesman said.
"I can confirm it. It is standard for us to set higher internal targets. (Cordes) said 4 billion (euros)," he said.
The spokesman also confirmed that the group's target was to achieve break even at Mercedes' Smart compact car unit in 2007.
Cordes declined to discuss the prospects for Smart with reporters at the car show, pending the outcome of a strategic review to be announced in April.
A collapse in profits at Mercedes led to a slump in fourth-quarter operating earnings at the world's fifth-biggest carmaker, prompting the group to announce a new efficiency drive called CORE on Feb. 10.
DaimlerChrysler said then that CORE should boost earnings at Mercedes by over 3 billion euros.
The strong euro, new model launch costs, increased spending to fix quality problems and losses at Smart slashed operating profit at Mercedes to just 20 million euros in the fourth quarter of 2004 from 784 million a year earlier.