FRANKFURT -- The chief executive of DaimlerChrysler's U.S. arm Chrysler played down the impact of any new price war in the U.S. car market in a newspaper interview published on Monday.
But Dieter Zetsche told Germany's Berliner Zeitung that Toyota Motor Corp posed a rising threat in Europe if not in the United States.
"We will certainly feel the effects if the (U.S.) rebate war gets tougher, but we think it will hit us less than in the past," he said, contending that increasing numbers of customers were attracted by Chrysler products rather than its prices.
Asked if Japanese carmakers such as Toyota would continue to gain market share in the U.S. market, Zetsche said Toyota -- the world's second-biggest carmaker -- had done its homework well.
"But its biggest growth in the past depended primarily on its ability to reach new segments and classes of customer in the U.S. market and that is now over. I don't expect that Toyota will continue to grow so quickly (in the U.S. market)."
He was less sanguine about the situation in Europe, where Asian rivals have also been making serious inroads.
"What the United States has gone through now lies in store for Europe," he said. "Toyota will turn up the pressure in Europe. There is potential here that the Japanese have not yet exploited. This will increase the competition in Europe."