FRANKFURT -- DaimlerChrysler dismissed as "speculation" on Thursday a magazine report that designated Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche is open to the idea of selling its loss-making Smart small car business.
Shares in the world's fifth-biggest carmaker had gained more than 2 percent on the report in Manager magazine that cited management board sources as saying Zetsche would entertain the idea of selling a stake "from 10 to 100 percent" in Smart and would prefer to sell the business as a whole.
Zetsche, who will become CEO at the turn of the year, has publicly backed Smart's future in the group and has said he wanted to give management there the chance to carry out a business plan that aims to have the brand break even by 2007.
Management has time until then," a company spokesman said.
The magazine said many people in the company viewed the turnaround plant for Smart as unrealistic.
The division, which posted an operating loss of 600 million euros ($699.3 million) last year, has slashed staff and costs, narrowed its product line-up and struck closer ties with the Mercedes-Benz brand to boost earnings.